Hope is a human need. Hope is a feeling of expectation; a desire or anticipation of something. We want something to be true or to happen, and we long to trust in it. We must have hope in every area of our life, even if it’s only a false hope. Without hope, we no longer move forward in life, and some of us are even tempted to take our life.
What does the need for hope look like?
Maybe we hope that a relationship will be able to mend. Maybe we hope our income will sustain us keeping us financially secure. We hope we stay in good health or recover from poor health. We hope we can heal when we've been deeply hurt or we're grieving. Most of all, we hope that Heaven is our eternal destination once we die.
Lack of hope can bring anxiety and fears, and as we throw negativity where hopefulness should be, our thoughts take us down a hopeless road... “I will never heal,” “I will never be ok,” I will never be loved.”
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12
Do you have false hope?
False hope isn't based on truth. It seeks relief or satisfaction from a misconceived or shallow perspective. Those who don't personally walk with God may still appear to exude hope and seem to be living healed, confident, and free. God's common grace is available to all who follow the principles represented in His word. Though some closely succeed in achieving inner peace without God in their lives, they'll still lack the true hope of Heaven. People just don't typically turn to God and His truth unless they're desperate for Him.
How can we be satisfied with false hope?
I need hope to be grounded in truth, not relativism or partial truth, but the authoritative truth of God. I think it's safe to say our hope is connected to our faith. We hope IN our faith. WHAT we believe is so important, and real hope is anchored in a biblical world view. When God is actively in our life, He refuses to let us continue in false hope because He loves us; He does not want us to hope in anything except Him and His truth. Our hope and faith are so crucial to God, that if need be, He'll place us in the refining fire to burn up any false hope we might have, and it's in these times, we realize our false hope is unsustainable. Experiencing marital betrayal can shatter all our hopes and dreams, but often those hopes and dreams are attached only to this temporal life. When I was going through my divorce and experiencing so much loss, I realized my hope wasn't resting in my future life in God's Kingdom, but instead it was wrapped up in my people and the comfortable lifestyle I invested in to sustain me into my future.
“He tears me down on every side till I am gone; He uproots my hope like a tree.” Job 19:10
“So that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:7
Mark Buchanan said in his book Things Unseen, “On earth everything falls short of some hoped-for ideal. Everything good down here has a tragic brevity; it all falls short and shortly falls apart. None of it possesses any ultimacy.”
“Hell works the hardest on God’s saints. The most worthy souls will be tested with the most pressure and the highest heat, but heaven will not desert them.” William L. Watkinson
Let's make sure our hope is not attached to what's rigged for disappointment.
Is your hope in the Lord? Do you need it to be?
What is needed when we lack hope or our faith is weak?
Time alone with God. When we're confused or have unanswered questions surrounding some injustice, painful event, or loss, God alone is the One who holds the answers, so why not direct our questions to Him? Why do we turn where answers cannot be found? One of the most dangerous places to turn to is yourself. Have you ever heard someone say, “Search deep within yourself for answers?” Steer clear of anyone who tries to counsel you to search for or hope in anyone or anything but God. Mind you, some of the most misguided advice can come from the nicest people.
“Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.” Proverbs 26:12
How can we hope to heal?
It's been said that time heals all wounds. Time may take us further from our wounds so they're not as tender, but time does not heal all wounds. Only God completely heals wounds. When it comes to having hope for our healing, we must believe God is the Great Comforter and Great Healer.
“...the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation...” 2 Corinthians 1:3
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalms 147:3
How does God heal us?
“If you will diligently listen to the voice of Jehovah your God, and will do what is right in His eyes, and give ear to His commands, and keep all His statutes, I will put on you none of the diseases which I have put on the Egyptians: for I am Jehovah who heals you.” Exodus 15:26
“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will they hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
So what needs to precede our healing?
1. Humbly surrendering to God.
He is God and we are not. Making God our Master shows that we truly belong to Him. That means He calls the shots, not us. He leads, we follow. He speaks, we obey. He determines the trajectory of our life and gives us purpose, while we relinquish our control and trust His control.
2. Seeking God's face.
God says He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. When we seek Him, we'll find Him. When we seek for God, we talk to Him and wait to hear from Him.
3. Turning from our wicked ways.
We'd be surprised to know that God calls it evil when we do what's right in our own eyes. Merely ignoring God makes us wicked people. Isaiah is a book that surely opens our eyes to what wickedness really is. Puzzling as it may be, our own wicked ways can be hidden from ourselves, so God will take us on a journey to lovingly reveal where we err.
4. Expecting to hear from God.
We hear from God in His word. Scripture tells us all about God – who He really is. God wants to personally teach us about Himself. Though we may have learned of Him in church or from our parents, that's not going to cut it. We need to learn about God from God through our own personal, ongoing relationship with Him, and there's no better place to heal than buried in God's word.
Do we really contend to know someone well if we don't know them personally? No. Yet people often say that they know God when really they've only heard about Him from their family of origin, or they try to figure God out by what they see from those who claim to be Christian. Then, they come to their own conclusion about God and rationalize their lifestyle and worldview. When tragedy strikes our life, we'll find what we thought we knew of God isn't enough to carry us through our crisis. Hope needs to trust, and how can we trust someone unless we know them? We must get to know God in order to trust Him with our life, so He wants to take us on an intimate journey with Him.
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4
Let's make sure our hope is attached to the One True Eternal God.
Randy Alcorn said, “What we really want is the person we were made for, Jesus, and the place we were made for, Heaven. Nothing less can satisfy us.”
L.B. Cowman wrote in Streams In The Desert, “Oh, how everything gives way when affliction first come upon us! The clinging stems of our hopes are quickly snapped, and our heart lies overwhelmed and prostrate, like a vine the windstorm has torn from its trellis. But once the initial shock is over and we are able to look up and say, ‘It is the Lord’, faith begins to lift our shattered hopes once more and securely binds them to the feet of God. And the final result is confidence, safety, and peace.”
“We put our hope in the Lord, He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.” Psalm 33:20-22
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:11-12
“The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalm 147:11
Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost! The thought of my suffering is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. Lamentations 3:18-26
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 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 5:1-5
Laura serves as the Executive Director on the board of HER. She is passionate about helping betrayed women who struggle emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and financially. She has been leading weekly marital betrayal support groups for several years. Currently, Laura connects with leaders, writers, and counselors, to unite the efforts of those who share a burden for betrayed women.
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