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How to Foster Hope When Circumstances Disappoint

How to Foster Hope When Circumstances Disappoint


Do you find it hard to foster hope when circumstances disappoint? 

I struggle with this especially with repeated disappointments which is interesting since my "life Word" if there is such a thing, is HOPE.  Hmm, maybe that's why I get tested in this so often.  ;-)  {I actually wrote about how to avoid repeated spiritual tests in my post Tests and Make-up Exams which you can read  HERE. }

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, 
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12

THE ROLE SUFFERING PLAYS IN FOSTERING HOPE

I recently read a very familiar verse from Romans, one that I have read many times, but this time, the Lord was speaking to me about hope...

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, 
knowing that suffering produces endurance, 
and endurance produces character, 
and character produces hope, 
and hope does not put us to shame, 
because God's love has been poured into our hearts 
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5

Do you see that??  In order to foster hope, we need to go through suffering and endure which will strengthen our character at which time hope is born!

The opposite of hope is doubt.  I have done a great job at fostering doubt instead of hope!  I have allowed past disappointments to dictate how I view any future similar situations.  For me, it can be something as insignificant as cancelled plans.  My personality craves activity and being around people I love and care about.  So, of course, when those plans get cancelled, I AM disappointed.

But with my poor attitude about those disappointments, I am not allowing them to build character in me.

I realize this is such a trivial example of disappointment compared to a person who learns that the cancer treatment failed and only has two months to live; or the person who has been told there is no definitive treatment for the physical pain they are suffering with; or the person who was about to get out of a dead end job into their dream job only to find out the offer fell through.

In the above circumstances, the person will have no choice, but to endure.  However, how we do so will determine whether character will be built in us or bitterness.  If we endure in patience, it will build our character and that character will produce hope.

Why does suffering ultimately produce hope?  Because it is an opportunity for God to show Himself big in that situation by giving you courage, providing comfort and strengthening your faith.  Once you recognize the Lord's help in your suffering, you will have hope for the next time you find yourself in disappointing circumstances.

HOPE - IT'S CLOSER THAN YOU THINK!

The Apostle Paul is known for his joy.  Most of his epistles seem to showcase the joy of the Lord.  I've never sensed any fear in Paul.  I need to hang out with him. Maybe he'll rub off!  ;-)

In the following verses, we see all the suffering that Paul endured...

From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;  in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—
2 Corinthians 11:24b-27

Now that is suffering!

The Apostle Paul was also sent on a mission by God to preach to the Gentiles, but many times he found himself imprisoned.  Talk about disappointing!

But he later tells the Philippians...

for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:11-13

Where did Paul place His hope in those circumstances?  In Christ Jesus!   He believed that God's strength would be manifested IN his weakness, and God's will would STILL be accomplished.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, 
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. 
Romans 15:13

                        Our hope resides inside of us through the Holy Spirit.                       We do not need to look to external circumstances to give us hope.


Ligonier Ministries says the following about the role of the Holy Spirit concerning hope in a Believer's life.

"In Scripture, hope is not a reference to uncertainty or a lack of confidence in what the future will bring; rather, hope is another word for confident anticipation, and it has both objective and subjective aspects. Objectively, we have a hope that exists outside ourselves — Christ will surely return to reign visibly over all (1 Cor. 15:12–58). This fact is even more incontrovertible than the fact that the earth revolves around the sun. Subjectively, hope is the inward confidence we have that we will participate in the benefits of the objective, future reality (Rom. 8:25). The Holy Spirit’s work involves giving us this subjective hope (v. 16), and Paul prays for this in Ephesians 1:18–20.

How to Foster Hope When Circumstances Disappoint

So how do we practically foster hope when circumstances disappoint?  

Whether disappointing circumstances are trivial or very serious, in order to allow suffering to change our character before producing hope, we must have a mindset shift.  As hard as it might be to hope, ESPECIALLY in extreme suffering, we must take our cue from the Apostle Paul and fully depend upon the One who NEVER disappoints!  

Therefore, any circumstance that touches us is not meant to disappoint, but to show God's faith, strength, love, compassion and presence in that circumstance.

For more posts related to hope please check out the following by clicking on the titles:

         Seek the Lord!  He WILL foster hope when circumstances disappoint.              Your hope will not be put to shame.

Corrie Ten Boom truly lived out what it means to praise God in the darkest of circumstances.  In her book A Prisoner and Yet, Corrie shares about her time in the concentration camp and what it truly looks like to praise God even when you don't feel like it.



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Comments

  1. I am amazed at how so many times God confirms something He is trying to teach me through the reading of your blog! We seem to stay on the same wavelength so many times. God was just speaking with me this morning about how He orchestrates our circumstances and how I need to pay attention to the cues and clues He (through our circumstances) provides. One time a man told me to pay attention the signs God puts on the signposts - another great way of explaining that. Thank you for reminding me to keep placing my hope in Jesus through all life brings and that there is purpose in my endurance. You are such a dear blessing to me. I want you to know I am praying and believing alongside you this week. Sending much love to you, my dear friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cheryl! Praising God for His work through this blog in your life. You encourage me time and time again to keep pressing on, and it humbles me knowing that even though I may feel an inadequate vessel, He is more than adequate to accomplish His work through this blog.

      You are very welcome dear friend.

      Your prayers have meant so much to me and my daughter. I will email you soon.

      Wishing you and your family a very blessed and joyous Thanksgiving.

      This Thanksgiving I am so very thankful for you!

      Delete
  2. Hope is what my life in Christ is all about, I'm so glad we have that Hope & yes it is definitely strengthened through suffering. I found this true through the death of my daughter, then the death of my son, then the death of my late husband to brain cancer.
    Yes my hope lives in Him!

    You're most welcome to join me in a cuppa at Tea With Jennifer,
    Bless you,
    Jennifer

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jennifer, Your testimony of hope is amazing! It is indeed so evident that your hope lives in Him. Your joy in the Lord is such a blessing.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for the invite! :-)

      Wishing you a blessed and joyous Thanksgiving.

      Delete
  3. I have almost a 1/2 chapter dedicated to this passage (Romans 5:3-5) in my book The Heart That Heals. There's a lot to learn from Romans on fostering hope in a seemingly hopeless world. Great post! Thanks!

    Pinned.

    Thank you for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed!

      Thank you so much for your very kind words, and thank you for pinning!

      You are very welcome!

      Wishing you a blessed and joyous Thanksgiving.

      Delete
  4. Amen! Suffering isn't fun, but it's always filled with growth opportunities and miraculous displays of God's care for us--and that builds hope!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anita, Indeed! Thank you for adding to the conversation. I appreciate it. :-)

      Wishing you a blessed and joyous Thanksgiving.

      Delete
  5. Hope is my OneWord choice for 2019 so I appreciate your words here about choosing hope. Sometimes it is NOT my default choice. But I want it to be!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lisa, Oh I can so relate to hope NOT being a default choice at times. I am right there with ya! But indeed hope is where we want to be.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I wish you a blessed and joyous Thanksgiving.

      Delete
  6. I am not sure how I got to your blog, I know I followed over from a link party and I am so glad I did. I am now a new subscriber. Joy has been my "one word" for about two years and it seems so hard to foster apart from "hope". I don't know about these words and how much they should or should not be such a focus but I do know that I found encouragement here today and it fostered in me both joy and hope. Happy Thanksgiving.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! I am so glad you found my blog!

      Oh what a wonderful word "joy" is. I never thought of it that way, but indeed, joy is hard to foster apart from hope.

      Praising God that you found encouragement.

      Wishing you a blessed and joyous Thanksgiving.

      Delete
  7. Continuing to trust and hope in little disappointments builds that "hope muscle" for when bigger trials come our way, I think. I'm thankful for the chances I had to practice hope in trivial things, because those prepared me for some harder things - I know God's promises are true. Thank you for sharing words of challenge and encouragement each week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kym, I love what you shared here! "Hope Muscle" Very well stated!

      I so appreciate you adding to the conversation.

      You are very welcome!

      Thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

      Delete
  8. Love the word HOPE because without Hope, we would be so lost. And the fact that we have Hope in God always. :)

    ReplyDelete

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