How You Can Have Hope In A Hopeless World

If ever there was a time for hope, it is today, because it seems there is nothing but bad news, but for there is actually good news for many.

Hopeless

Today it seems there is bad news just about everywhere you turn, including on the news. Violence in the streets, white supremacists groups are growing, natural catastrophes, protests, some of which comes with rioting, looting, and violence has captured the headlines. In some parts of the U.S., devastating floods, while drought and fires rage in the West, and through all of this, for many, hope is slowly slipping away. For those who had hope at the beginning of the year, many have seen their hopes dashed to the ground. In our own state of Kansas, violent crimes such as murders are up about 12%, and for those who live around the local casino that opened up about 5 years ago, they have seen an associated increase in divorce, spousal abuse, DUI’s, and bankruptcy. Earlier this year, the Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index for 2017 reported that 42% of British millennials believe owning a house or getting a steady job is unrealistic for them, while 16% think that no matter how hard they try, their life will amount to nothing, and most alarmingly, 34% anticipate a lower standard of living than their parents , which is almost double the number of the pre-war generation, and so it’s no wonder that 56% of young people stated they’ve experienced a mental health problem and didn’t believe in themselves while they were in school. What’s happening to hope in this world?

Huge Fireball in Forest

Replacing Hope

When hope is missing in a person’s life, it is often replaced by something else, but that replacement is not always a good because it can be filled with drugs, alcohol, and for many, gambling. A University of Bristol study found that 25 percent of men between 18 and 24 had gambling problems of varying degrees of severity. These same researchers polled more than 1,000 patients in 11 Bristol waiting rooms. About one in 20 people had a gambling problem and one in five of those had a severe problem. It seems when hope is missing, something else is sought to replace that hope, but instead of it being hope, it is for many, hoping to win and break their “bad luck.” One security guard I interviewed at the nearby casino said that the busiest time of the month is at the very beginning of the month when welfare recipients received their checks, but tragically, instead of receiving some hope by means of winning, instead, they spend money that is earmarked for their families is gone…spent at the local casino, so those who have long been linked to gambling, are creating gambler’s addictions and ripping apart families. The vulnerable or lower class (including the poor) are more are likely to become addicted than those of other economic classes. I have yet to see a study that shows a lessening of crime when and after a casino is built. According to the KBI (Kansas Bureau of Investigation), there has been an overall increase in violent crimes (4.2%) such as murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults and batteries. This increase occurred even after a sharp 11.2 percent increase for these types of violent crimes in the previous year (2015). Reports from other states across the U.S. have had similar reports. Michael Churi, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute said, “Because of the aging population, we don’t have enough workers to have the economic growth we need,” so trouble in economics, society, and the environment is robbing many of hope, but the problem isn’t hope…it’s where that hope is placed.

Hope in God

If we only have hope in this world, we are going to be disappointed. The world’s idea of hope is radically different than the hope mentioned in Scripture. The world’s hope comes and goes, but those who hope in God shall never be disappointed. If the only hope I had was in this world, my hope would turn to disappointment because nothing in this world, outside of Christ, offers any hope beyond today. The truth is, there is no hope without Christ. The Bible clearly teaches that even if things look hopeless, there is always hope in God. The Apostle Paul says our hope is in Christ, and knowing that death is not the final chapter, Paul writes, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1st Cor 15:17-19), however we have a sure and certain hope in Jesus Christ because “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). That means we have hope beyond the grave. For those who die in the faith, funerals are not as hard since they have the hope of the resurrection and seeing their loved ones again…that is, if they have trusted in Christ. Hope is a good thing, and for many, it is the only thing that keeps them going. The Apostle Paul told Felix, “I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust” (Acts 24:14b-15). Daniel the Prophet spoke of this great hope while simultaneously speaking of the judgment of God on unbelievers. Daniel wrote of a coming time when “many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above: and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Dan 12:2-3).

Conclusion

If you are holding out in hope for things to get better in this world, I believe you have hoped in the wrong thing, or more specifically, in the wrong Person. Like the author of Hebrews, “we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end” (Heb 6:11), and so “we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us” (Heb 6:18). Our hope in Christ is “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain” (Heb 6:19). The encouraging message from Hebrews is for all who believe; “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Heb 10:23).

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • pud

    How can you so brazenly lie as much as you do? 2017 is the best year human beings have ever experienced! On every metric humanity has NEVER had it so good. Globally crime is at all time human lows! The mongols are not killing so many people that the planets carbon footprint fell. The Romans are not crucifying people or feeding them to lions, No volcano has buried an entire Pompeii sized city. Hunger is at all time low. There is no Black Plague. Cures for diseases are found every day! Global literacy rates have NEVER been higher. Not to mention….

    Central Heat!
    Electricity!
    Flush toilets!
    Supermarkets!
    Doctors and hospitals!
    Fresh water!
    Jobs!
    Toilet paper!
    Wealth!
    Personal freedom! No more kings or priests calling the shots!
    Transportation!
    Science!
    Knowledge!
    The internet!
    Dentists!
    Anti biotics!
    Civilization!
    Record longevity!
    Record low infant mortality!
    Democracy!
    Space travel!
    Understanding not blind ignorant superstition!

    You are a liar and a fraud. A fear monger on behalf of your sick cult. You use threats and intimidation and mindless hellfire fantasies in your truly wicked quest to indoctrinate others. You dismiss FACTS and EVIDENCE as if you were deaf dumb and blind.

    There is no magic man in the sky. Humanity has risen above the dark days when religious lunatics like yourself cowered in fear and doled out horrific torture and death in the name of your invisible deity.

    You worship human sacrifice!!

    You sir are a total madman, liar and fraud. An old deluded deranged man paralyzed by fear ignorance and gullibility who makes a wretched living lying to children

    Shame on you!

    • Very good points, Pud. A GDP growth rate of 3% per annum doubles the GDP in about 23 years whereas one of 7% p.a. doubles it in just over 10 years. Economic growth gives humans the capacity to lift the bulk of people in their communities out of poverty.

  • NathansFather

    Hey Jack! This is simplistic on my part but usually I don’t watch the news. Guess what? I am a much happier camper as a result 😉
    We are in this world but need not be of this world. Being constantly caught up the drama and fake news makes for anxiety that is unnecessary to place on our plate where blessed assurance should reign.

    Now the big stuff like the hurricanes and now the fires in California naturally bleed through.

    I asked our congregation to pray for the safety of our dear friend Berit, her husband Andy, their grown children and grandchildren. The Kjos live in the heart of the Napa Valley. I have not heard from Berit yet. Please add the Kjos to your congregational prayer list.
    Kjos Ministries
    Crossroad To
    http://www.crossroad.to

    • pud

      Why didn’t your deranged “god” send rain? Lunatic

  • Your view seems extremely pessimist to me. Too much of Conservative Evangelicalism encourages pessimism by its overemphasis on the so-called “sinnerhood” of humanity. An empirical examination of humanity might suggest a more optimist view. If you take off your Evangelical glasses for a moment you might see that ordinary human beings are capable of much good (even though there might be some tendency to great evil in some).

    Compassion, healing-mercy and loving kindness can be practised by all kinds of people, not just those Christians that exhibit kindness to all: Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, atheists and agnostics as well as other generous minded persons. However, I ask why is it that so many Buddhists exhibit more kindness than many Fundamentalist Christians who are often self righteous, over opinionated, condemnatory and judgemental?

    We need to observe the behaviour of people today. Not just rely on certain descriptions of human behaviour found in the bible. Sometimes these descriptions seem to be exaggerated.