Beautiful Between

living fully in the now & not yet

When you need fresh hope, this is what to do

fresh-hope-discouragement

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

– Romans 15:13 ESV

Discouragement snuck in when I wasn’t looking. It settled in my soul some time before I noticed its evidence on the edges of my heart. It moved quietly and quickly, smudging a cloudy film of fingerprints all over my perspective. It was hard to see hope.

Discouragement is an opportunist, seizing unexpected moments when I think it’s not a big deal. I was spending the holidays with my sister’s family and it got busy, as the season does. We laughed and wrapped presents and played with the kids and trekked all over New York City. It was wonderful.

But I didn’t prioritize life-giving moments of stillness, early morning or late at night. I didn’t drink deeply of Scripture and Spirit. In that week, time apart let me forget He who promised is faithful and hope does not disappoint.

Secret parts of my heart forgot that He is who He says He is, that my hidden dreams are securely in His hands. It wasn’t the hopelessness of deep despair and depression. Instead, it was the mundane discouragement that presses in from all sides, making the soul feel caged and weary.

God of Hope

When I finally came back to that still place, Romans 15:13 crashed on me like a wave. God of hope – what does that mean about who He is? And if hope is just a collection of wishes and warm feelings, why would it take the power of the Holy Spirit to fill us with it?

Hope isn’t a frothy and vapid emotion. It’s not what I’ve sometimes thought: a willful choice to cling to good and refuse to look at the bad. No, hope is joyful and confident expectation of a bright future even in the face of difficult circumstances. It carries a sense of security that vague, positive thoughts can’t conjure.

This is what He means when He identifies Himself as God of hope. He says, “I am the God who fills you with joy, with confidence and peace in believing. In the face of dire circumstances and mundane discouragements that threaten to run your heart to the ground, I am the God who gives you an abundance of hope.”

Abounding in Hope

“Abound” means to exceed, to go over the limit, to have more than necessary. How do I miss this? How have I believed there’s just enough hope, joy and peace to get by? How do I still think this glorious and giving God isn’t unfathomably generous with everything my soul needs?

The truth is this: when I try to manufacture my own hope, joy and peace, there is, at best, just enough to get by. I get dry, cracked and discouraged. My heart is weighed down. Time and time again, I forget that He alone is my source.

But then I come and drink, come and feast, fill my mind and heart with His words. And He does what He promised. He never fails.

His Spirit fills my soul to overflowing. He meets me with nearness and my hope is anchored in the mystery. He bends close to brush my ears with His breath. He warms my heart with the warmth of love.

The future is bright not because of circumstance, but because He is in it. I’m full of joy, not because situations make me happy, but because His presence is a source of endless goodness. Peace is mine, not because there is nothing in life to fear, but because He will not leave me alone.

When I come to this God of hope day in and day out and allow Him to fill me the way He wants to, discouragement might wander through my soul, but it has a much harder time finding a place to settle.

How do you handle discouragement? Where do you find your hope? Tell me about it!

About Sarah

Hi, I'm Sarah. I love coffee, pancakes and street tacos. I'm a learner, a traveler and a creative mess. I've got a thing for redemption and seeing broken people living beautiful lives. That's the story I've lived, and the one I want for you. Let's be friends!

10 Replies

  1. Ugh. I just shared a little slice of my own struggle on my Facebook page and then I read this. Perfect timing.

    Yesterday, I handled discouragement by leaning into it. I talked to it. Let it know I recognized it. I cussed at the sky. And then I took a deep breath and walked the dog for a mile. I cried. I say in silence. And I listened to some good music that fed my soul.

    I am so thankful for you, friend. Thank you for this.

    1. I love it when the timing is serendipitous like that! I wrote this in January and posted it on another site, but just felt like it was a good time to share it here. 🙂 I hope today is better for you!

  2. Leah Weybright

    Handle discouragement? Oh I am learning to both love my personality, which thrives on quiet and alone time, and yet not allow my natural tendencies to lead me to a place of isolation, where I can be cornered by fears and my own thoughts. reaching out to a friend who can say “I love you, lets not let this over take you…” Is invaluable to me

    1. Oh my gosh, yes! You know that’s me, too. Sometimes you just need to let someone know you’re discouraged. <3

  3. This is beautiful! I just wrote last night about peace and quiet, and how they only truly come from Him. Always refreshing to read your writing!

    1. They really do just come from Him. I love that about Him. Thank you so much, Aimee! <3

  4. Thanks for this. It reminds me that it is my own feeble Satan inspired insecurities that transform the growth producing challenges of God into the unnecessary affliction of hopelessness.

    1. Thanks for reading, George!

  5. Jaina

    Love, love this Sarah! Discouragement truly is an “opportunist.” It sneaks into my days more often than I’d like to admit.

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