Discovering Hope When It Feels Like Depression Has Won


Discovering Hope When It Feels Like Depression Has Won

3 Revelations about Hope in Life’s Darkest Moments

How do we find a hope that is genuine and authentic?

How do we discover a hope that is true even in the midst of repeated disappointments and the painful circumstances of life?

I found myself asking these very questions as I stood in the aftermath of my husband’s twelve-year battle with clinical depression and his ultimate suicide.

I relied on my faith in God and trusted Him to bring an end to the devastation. He did not abandon me. He was right there with me, carrying me through every step. But He didn’t show up in the ways I so desperately desired. In the end, my faith was stretched and strengthened.

“Faith and hope are overlapping realities: hope is faith in the future tense.”

- Thrive

Faith was easier to hang onto because I could intellectually process God’s Word and mentally agree with it in the present moment.

But hope

My hope became a casualty of the long, long battle. It became fragile, and, over time, the idea of a good future died out. A big part of my heart simply turned off as hope disappeared somewhere deep inside of me. My heart had been broken too many times and finding the courage to risk disappointment again frightened me. I was afraid that the next disappointment would be the breaking point, the death knell to all future hope.

God knew how hard it was for me to hope, but He loved me too much to allow me to live without it. He met me in the secret place of my bruised and battered heart and showed me the way to that genuine and authentic hope for which I longed.

Here are three revelations about true hope to which God has opened my eyes through my darkest moments of despair:

Revelation #1 - True hope is found in Jesus.

True hope is not wishful thinking. It is a byproduct of standing firm in the unstoppable love of Jesus Christ. I focus on Christ and who I know Him to be, even when my emotions and circumstances tell me otherwise. When I face a challenge that ignites overwhelming emotions, He teaches me to scour the Scriptures to praise Him for the ways He is the answer to everything I need in that moment: good, gracious, kind, tender-hearted, merciful, victorious, light, miraculous, healing, glorious. As I lean into Jesus and trust Him to be exactly who and what I need in my life, He plants the seed of hope in my heart.

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:19


Revelation #2 - Hope is grounded in the promises of God.

I struggled to believe in all of God’s promises for me, to hope that all of God’s Word is true. I allowed previous disappointments to define who God is rather than His Word. Yet, God began to teach me that He cannot lie – He cannot fail. When He makes a promise, He will follow through. When fear steals in, or doubt whispers that these promises are not for me, God reassures me with the truth in His Word, and challenges me to believe.

“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” - Numbers 23:19

Revelation #3 - Hope grows over time.

Hope does not spring up overnight. It takes time as I practice trusting in Christ and His promises to me.

“Hope brings about a new process of change and it takes time. It is not a quick-fix of our problems, rather a new sense of confidence with a faith and patience that life will improve”

- Thrive

When each new challenge comes my way, and my default of fear grips my heart, I lean into Jesus and trust Him to lead me to a promise found in His Word. With each experience, my hope becomes more firmly grounded. I finally believe that the past does not exclude me from receiving exactly what God promises. Hope springs forth from my heart and replaces fear as I find myself standing in the unstoppable love of Christ – the one through whom all of God’s promises have been fulfilled.

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.” - 2 Corinthians 1:20

If you are looking for a hope that is authentic and genuine, look no further than Jesus Christ and the promises of God. He is the one hope that will never fail – no matter what life brings.

What is one promise of God you are holding onto today?

*For more information about this topic, check out the chapter “Discovering Hope” in our Thrive Workbook. Thrive is an in-depth, self-directed whole-health guide proven to reduce depression, anxiety, etc., improve daily life and renew your life in Christ.

Joyce Bruggeman is the Executive Director of Survivors of Suicide Loss in San Diego, CA.  The organization supports those who have lost a loved one to suicide. She is also the author of “Reflections from the Everlasting Bridge” and “From God’s Heart to Yours” (written under Joyce Turner).