How to find hope when all is lost

How to find hope when all is lost December 16, 2013

Too many live life full of regrets. The relationship that they lost. The vocation they never found. The job they were fired from. The place they have never lived. And this is how they see themselves.Formless. Void. Bottomless emptiness.  

When you look at the beginnings of our planet – whether you come from a strictly scientific view or a theological view —  planet earth started as “junk.”  Genesis calls it “a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness.” It was just a body of cosmic junk spinning into oblivion.

But this spinning orb had one thing going for it. “The Spirit of God hovered over it.”

One thing led to another, as the expression goes. This bird called “Hope” was winging its way around our sphere and landed. There was light, then movement, then animation. Biospheres swirled in a complicated, yet beautiful harmony.

And in no time, the junk was turned into jazz, and the jazz became a melody of creation.

Human Junk

When I look at my life – and likely you’ll do the same – the junk has a way of clawing at my sensibility.  Sure I was wonderfully formed, an amazing DNA twist of surprising order, but because of some terrible choices I descended back in chaos. It was like I undid the creative spark.

Still, the  bird hovered over me. The story wasn’t over.

We often use what we have lost to define who we are.

I have one friend whose online profile begins with the declaration he is a widower and a single father. While this was a monumental, painful, and instrumental part of his life, it isn’t what defines him to me. He’s smart and astute and in tune with God like few others I’ve met.

How does God see him? How does God see you?

Like this planet – that was formless in void – he saw great beauty. He saw potential. He saw an opportunity for his power.

Because he’s all about creation – and for some – recreation. He hovers and moves and sails over us, looking to land, leading us and giving us hope.

God Don't Make No Junk

Photo courtesy, Tammy Hendricks

The labels you carry

How can we shake those societal  labels. Divorced. Addict. Widowed. Overweight. Unmarried. Sick.

But what you see as an inky blackness, God sees as opportunity. In six short days he created this world, don’t you think he can recreate you the same way?

Marlon Hall recently said this at a High Calling retreat. “Don’t wait for the happy ending to claim the pure beginning.”

Your story isn’t over!

What labels do you carry? Do you think you have a shot at re-creation? Is there hope?


Photo courtesy, Tammy Hendricks


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  • I still use the “label” recovering addict simply because it helps those seeking help to know that I have walked the roads they may be facing and may be able to help them in the navigation department. I use the label of sexual abuse survivor because of the same reason – sometimes, people need short tabs, like those on my Bible to get me to a specific place in a hurry, and hurting people who seek help need to know God loves them.

    The reality is that God does not see me as a label, or a tab – He just seems me.

    • Love the ‘tabs’ illustration. They do help don’t they?

  • Just what I needed to hear today! I’m claiming a pure beginning! THANKS!

  • Guy

    This is probably one of the most powerful statements I have heard so far this year: “We often use what we have lost to define who we are”. I never really thought about it but yes a whole lot of us do define ourselves by what we have lost, or who we used to be.

    I always thought it was strange that Jesus asked the man at the well if he wanted to be healed…Maybe the man’s self identity and who he “was”, was so wrapped up in his illness that he wasn’t willing to give it up?

    • it is interesting how our losses become our identity. But God’s name for us doesnt include that. And your illustratuion of the man being asked to be healed is almost the first step. “Who do you THINK you are?” and then we are healed

  • Mia

    Dear David

    When I feel as if my illness is busy to get me under, I just look at Lazarus and the rich fool. This makes me realize immediately that our Pappa doesn’t look at us the same ways we sometimes do. He is such a good friend of sinners for He came to seek and save those who are lost; not those who think they have it all together.

    Blessings XX


    • Sickness IS a definer because it impacts so many parts of our lives. But you through your worldwide community of encouragment, you are not “sick” — you dispense hope.

  • Yes, I needed this today too, David. It’s not what we’ve lost that defines us. Those are some good words.

    • I look around at those who are hurting and the labels they carry and I’m amazed…It’s painful to see

  • joepote01

    No, the story doesn’t end with divorce, addiction, abuse, illness, sorrow, grief, or even death.

    Because Christ redeems!

    Thanks for the encouraging post, David!

    • Joe, you have personally encouraged me to move beyond the divorce lable. There have been many days that seeing you thrive has given me encouragement

      • joepote01

        Wow! That leaves me feeling both honored and encouraged.

        Thank you, David!

  • A gal I mentor almost refuses to NOT define her self by her losses. She clings to them and strokes them. I know they are significant, but they are not the most defining thing about her and it saddens me she won’t claim them AND other defining attributes.

  • Loser, worthless, sissy, momma’s boy are some of the labels I wear. Yes, I believe I have a shot of re-creation. I also believe there’s hope. My story’s not over!

    • No sir! Give me some other God-given labels. Proclaim them right here!

  • Satan is great at recalling to our mind all our failures, regrets, missed opportunities. But it’s our choice if we let that define us.

    God calls us HIS. We are wonderfully made. God doesn’t make crap!

    As long as there is breath in me, He isn’t finished with me. My story is still going on and I have the responsibility to chose to be defined by God or let myself be defined by satan. Some days it’s easy to claim victory in God, and other days it truly is a sacrifice to praise Him.

    Merry Christmas.

    • Satan has a wicked recall ability . It’s debilating.

  • I hope the labels that I sometimes have point to where I’ve been and where I am now because of the work He’s done in my life. I once was lost (all the old labels) now I’m found (my new label)

  • God is never finished with us, and he’s promised that he’ll use everything – EVERYTHING – for our good (Romans 8:28).

  • Oh my…this–> “But what you see as an inky blackness, God sees as opportunity.” Yes. One thousand times yes! Thank you for your words…Yes!

  • I’ve found that when I’m at the weakest or hardest places God is always faithful to be with me and carry me through (even when I don’t clearly see Him). He allows everything work out for those who trust and believe in Him. Powerful post, David.

    • It takes many years of walking to finally get it. Let go. Let God

  • Amy

    “Because he’s all about creation – and for some – recreation. He hovers and moves and sails over us, looking to land, leading us and giving us hope.” Thanks, David. A great reminder of hope in all situations. Merry Christmas!

  • I have a post waiting to be written and I’ve titled the blank page “labels” but have never gotten around to it.

    I am so grateful you have written this because the reason I haven’t been able to write it myself is I don’t want to think about the labels I wear.

    I don’t think it’ll be pretty.

  • satish

    thanks brother , for the article , it has given me hope, god has not done yet with me, I labeled myself that I am no more useful tool for god and always was going in past thinking about my past failures as i have lost my job as a minister in a church.praise god happy new year.

    • Well sir, I don’t know you but I do know your pain. Losing a job is difficult for anybody but losing your ministerial position no doubt carries a great deal of shame. I’m no stranger to such things, and I want to know that you are loved. Regardless of guilt, of fault, or of any other factor, there is hope. It might feel dark and dismal right now, but there is a new day and I want you to know that