Hopelessness is defined as having no expectation of good or hope for success, or any anticipation of a solution to life's problems. Women who find themselves in a hopeless frame of mind feel at a complete loss. They often do not pursue help because they have no confidence that hope exists for their situation. Feeling like giving up is a common theme for women who battle with hopelessness. They yield to what they feel is their inevitable doom, often with a sad and bitter calm.
However, any desperate outburst while in this state is a sign that the person is still fighting for hope. These outbursts do not feel good or hopeful, but they do indicate the inward desire of the heart to be rescued.
In the Bible, Naomi, who was Ruth’s mother-in-law, cried out a plea of desperation on Ruth’s and Orpah’s behalf while feeling hopeless in regards to herself . To her daughters-in-laws she said, "Return, my daughters! Why should you go with me ... the Lord has gone forth against me" (Ruth 1:12,13). Naomi even went so far as to ask to be called by a new name that meant bitter, which expressed her inner hopeless state. She said, "Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me" (Ruth 1:20). Yet God helped Naomi in a way that she could not help herself.
Job also exhibited these desperate glimmers of hope in the midst of what seemed like a hopeless situation. Although everything he loved had been taken from him, he proclaimed,"Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him." God rescued Job in glorious ways that no man could accomplish on his own.
The pages of the Bible are filled with folks whom God delivered from virtually hopeless situations of the heart. Yes, hopelessness is God’s specialty. He gives hope to the hopeless. The very message of Salvation for the lost is hope for the hopeless. The resurrection of the dead is hope for the hopeless. A new and eternal life, free from pain and disappointment, is hope for the hopeless.
This world is passing quickly and all the pleasures in it are worthless. The wisest man on earth understood the dynamics of this reality. In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon writes of empty and vain pursuits -- and spending years doing whatever his heart desired. Money was unlimited for Solomon, and he went from one project to the next. The things he accomplished were things that most people only dream about, things that most view as the fulfillment of life’s ultimate "hopes." Yet, Solomon saw the hopelessness in it all.
Solomon addresses the hopelessness in this way: "I said to myself, ‘Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself. And behold it too was futility. I said of laughter, ‘It is madness,’ and of pleasure, ‘What does it accomplish?"(Ecclesiastes 2:1, 2)
He ended his observations by writing, "Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God..." (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Fearing God is the beginning of Hope found!
To fear God in reverence -- to be in awe and wonder and to know that He is alone is the answer -- this is hope! He can move the clouds of hopelessness as no one else can. If you are a woman struggling with hopelessness, let your heart be stirred at the reading of these miraculous and glorious stories of hope! If there is any desperation in your heart, let your spirit cry forth. Call upon the name of the Lord, even with the smallest grain of hope!
Using Philippians 4:8 as her starting point, Paula Masters helps women navigate beyond clouds of spiritual darkness into the brilliant light of truth, peace, and healthy thinking.