On Hope for the Hopeless
- Date: 03/13/2011
- Occasion: Vineyard Anaheim, Sunday Morning Service
- Media Type: Streaming Audio
- Audience: Beginner
- Kingdom Categories: Life of the Mind, Spiritual Formation
In a recent talk at my church, Vineyard Anaheim, I spoke on the topic of hopelessness and how to deal with it.
Hopelessness is a leukemia of the spirit. It stagnates life.
Clearly, hopelessness has to be treated. But it can’t be changed by simply willing it. Curiously, we will not change, unless we have hope to change. For people change when they expect that change can happen. That’s why the desire to change is not sufficient to bring about change.
So, how can we renew our hope and thereby deal with hopelessness? In my talk, I offer two main suggestions.
1) We need to re-kindle faith
2) We need to re-frame our difficulties.
I counsel that hope will be a by-product of 1) and 2).
With 1), we can see how faith and hope are interrelated with each other. From passages like Romans 5 and 15, we learn that faith produces hope and not the other way around. Faith nurtures and empowers hope.
But how do you re-kindle faith? I suggest that there are two basic ways to do this (and hear you might be interested in reading In Search of a Confident Faith): a) be exposed to testimony about what God is doing around the world, indeed, in our own world. How is God at work? How might that strengthen our faith?; b) be actively remembering what God has done in our lives and in the lives of those that we know have experienced God’s work.
Finally, we can learn to re-frame our difficulties in light of a re-kindled faith. First, be learning to relabel our hardships in such a way that we are not preoccupied with “worst-case scenario” thinking. Second, we can learn how to refocus our attention on God and learn to discipline our distracted and often worrying hearts.
Related content: If this talk interests you, you might also want to consider the following:
- "How to Maintain a Peace of Mind" (audio)
- "The God Who Hides" (audio)
- "On the Promises and Problems of Petitionary Prayer" (audio)
- Lost Virtue of Happiness (book)
- In Search of a Confident Faith (book)
- It provides a helpful discussion about the difference between hope vs. hopelessness.
- It offers practical and workable practices for dealing with hopelessness.
- It educates about how to grow in hope in light of the nature of hope.