A hand placed around a heart shaped rock.

How to Stay Hopeful

November 25, 2019
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Life is about routine, isn’t it?

A man looking up in the woods with a graphic overlay reading, "Hope."

If you don’t think that’s true, then just try and change things up in a small way today. Instead of washing your hair first when you get in the shower, wait until the end. Try sleeping on the left side of the bed instead of the right. Or, brush your upper teeth before your lowers instead of the other way around. Feels weird, doesn’t it? That’s the routine.

Sometimes routine is comforting. It feels good to know what’s coming and to have a sense of normalcy in everyday life. But sometimes you need to shake things up, if only for a few minutes, because even though the routine can be comforting, it can also be very, very boring.

Perhaps there’s something good in the boring routine of life as well. Maybe the boring parts of life can actually help us stay hopeful in life. The mundane, everyday rhythm can actually help us sharpen our hope.

Stay Hopeful by Sharpening What’s Dull

If you use a knife long enough, it’s going to become dull. You probably have some kind of sharpening tool in a drawer in your kitchen. That is a tool specifically made for that purpose - to sharpen knives.

But for hundreds of years, people have not used fancy sharpening tools but instead used ordinary, flat stones to do the work. It takes a lot longer to do it that way, but a knife can be sharpened by the smooth dullness of a rock with enough time and effort.

The same thing is true with our hope. Like that knife in your kitchen drawer, hope has a way of becoming dull despite the fact that “hope” ought to be one of the hallmarks of the Christian:

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. - Psalm 31:24
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. - Psalm 42:5
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. - Romans 12:12
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:13

Related Post: 20 Bible Verses About Thankfulness

Staying Hopeful in Difficult Times and Good Times

Christian hope is a different kind of hope. The hope we have is much more than a pie-in-the-sky kind of optimism; it is sure and certain because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s this hope, based on what Jesus has done and where He is leading us, that drips into everything we do, think, and believe. And yet even that hope becomes dull sometimes.

Sometimes hope becomes dull because of our circumstances. Bad things happen, and sometimes they’re so bad it seems like there is very little light at the end of a long tunnel.

Any time we find ourselves in circumstances that threaten our dreams, security, or future, it’s hard to stay hopeful.

Ironically, though, true hope is not only dulled by difficulty; it is dulled by prosperity. It’s not only dulled when things are bad; it’s dulled when things are good. If the money’s good, health is good, job is good, and family is good… then what do we need to hope for? We already have everything we want!

Like a knife in the drawer, our hope can get so dulled that it no longer cuts through the temporary pleasures or the temporary sufferings the world brings us.

So, how do we sharpen that knife?

How to Remain Hopeful in Life

This is where the boring parts of routine come in. As we walk through the mundane parts of our day, it can be a reminder that there is actually something more. Something better.

Remembering this hope can slowly, over time, sharpen our hearts and minds to look more clearly toward Jesus, His great love for us, and His promises for our future.

Let’s be careful to make sure the right kind of hope is being sharpened. Let’s make sure that ultimately, what’s being sharpened is not just our desire to sit in a restaurant or go to a concert or hang out with friends.

These are good things, but they aren’t the best thing.

Practical Ways to Stay Hopeful in Difficult Times

Staying positive in difficult times takes resolve. It is not easy to stay hopeful when life gets hard and you don’t see a resolution. However, there are a few practical ways to stay positive during difficult times.

Practice Gratitude

It may seem simplistic or perhaps dismissive of your troubles to find something to be thankful for. But, remembering things we are grateful for is a way to stay positive during difficult moments. 

Remember God’s Promises

The Bible is full of promises of God’s faithfulness, strength, and comfort. Spend time meditating on these promises to help you stay hopeful.

Conclusion

There is no secret answer for how to get through hard times - the only way is through. However, there has never been a storm that stayed. Jesus sometimes silences storms, and He promises to always be with us in the midst of them. 

Related Post: You Are Valuable to God

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Learn how to stay hopeful in difficult times and good times, always looking to Jesus as our hope.

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