The delusion of hopelessness is mainly a consequence of false beliefs. When we adopt an attitude of mistrust, suspicion, and despair, and it becomes a firm mind-set, then the delusion of hopelessness takes control.
The state of hopelessness is a process of dying slowly. When the hope dies, everything else dies. Our motivation dwindles, we stop setting goals, we stop to see any meaning. We slowly resign and give up life. The way back from the delusion of hopelessness involves recognizing and rejecting the false beliefs and accepting the truth that properly reflects the physical and the spiritual reality.
God’s response to the delusion of hopelessness
Consider the dilemma of the prophet Jeremiah and God’s response to his anguish. At that time, the people of Israel are on the brink of a catastrophe and destruction by the Babylonian army, which actually comes to pass. It is not surprising that Jeremiah (called the “weeping prophet”) struggles with feelings and thoughts of hopelessness and despair. More than that, he struggles to reconcile his faith and the knowledge of God with what is happening. This is, at first glance the inextricable dilemma, that all believers inevitably face.
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In Jeremiah chapter 15 we find the prophet at the bottom of his feelings and thoughts. He bemoans himself, his fate and his wounds as deep and incurable. Jeremiah expresses his doubts and suspicions regarding God, comparing Him with a deceptive brook and a spring that fails. God answers him and gives him the key to exit this state. (Jeremiah 15:19)
If you return and give up this mistaken tone of distrust and despair, then I will give you again a settled place of quiet and safety, and you will be my minister. If you separate the precious from the vile, cleansing your own heart from unworthy and unwarranted suspicions concerning God‘s faithfulness, you shall be my mouthpiece for I am with you to save and deliver you. (Jeremiah 15:19 – Amplified version)
The lies of hopelessness
The idea that we can be wrong in the way we look at things and the desire to take responsibility for our thinking is the first step in the process of return. God asks us to give up the following misconceptions to get out of the state of hopelessness:
- The internal conviction that we are right and that our thinking and attitude of staying offended and hurt is ok. Whether we perceive ourselves as a victim or not, depends on us, not on our circumstances.
- The attitude of mistrust and suspicion concerning God and His faithfulness. It is important to understand that these suspicions are unfounded and unworthy. Because God, His character and Word are not changing, He is and always remains faithful to Himself and His promises. His faithfulness is the unshakable foundation of our hope.
- The attitude of despair. The reluctance to believe that healing is possible and the unwillingness to take a step in that direction.
- Our limited perspective on the situation. Let’s not forget that we see only a microscopic part of the whole, but God sees the beginning and the end and the whole story between them.
- The focus on the visible, material, short-term things of little or no value.
Truths to focus on
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)
- The truth about the character and will of God. The right understanding that God is good, which leads to the expectation that we will see and experience His goodness in our lives. And this is the antidote of hopelessness.
- The truth that there is no hopeless situation! The hopeless situation excludes God and spiritual reality. And since it is impossible to exclude God, who is the cause, the center and the meaning of everything, we can have hope in every situation.
- The hope in Christ and His resurrection. Even when all our expectations and hopes did not come to fulfillment within our earthly lives, we still have the invincible, transcendent, always present Hope of Christ. This is the hope of full restoration and redemption of all creation.
- The precious eternal things and virtues that are of immense value. Hope is one of them. But also faith and love. Let’s look from the eternal perspective and focus on the fruits of the difficult moments we are experiencing. These are the fruits of long-suffering, endurance, kindness, self-control, improved relationships, and so on.
Results from overcoming the delusion of hopelessness
God’s focus is definitely on resolving the internal conflict rather than the external one (the specific circumstances). God promises us a few things when we take responsibility for our thinking. They relate to the improvement of our mental state and our ability to serve God. These are:
- Permanent, lasting, unchangeable state of soul peace and tranquility. Is there anything more valuable and wonderful than that?
- Permanent and lasting safety. God leads us in freedom from anxiety and various kinds of fears.
- Ability and opportunity to serve God and to please Him.
- Divine wisdom – the ability to see and perceive God’s perspective and will for everything, and to speak with His words. This, in turn, gives us the strength to live the life for which we are created.
In which areas of your life do you feel hopeless? Can you identify the thoughts which nourish this feeling? With which truths can you replace them? Come and share in the comments!