Great People in the Bible Who Lost Hope
II. Who Lost Hope in Scripture
III. Can Someone Live Without Hope
IV. Is it Ever too Late for Hope
Why People Lose Hope
People lose hope because their expectations are not met which leads to disappointment. In this article, I will reveal names of people in the Bible who lost hope, albeit temporarily, due to personal hardship. Most know Job as someone of great faith. There is little doubt on this because in Job chapter 1, God said the same. However, Job went through much suffering, at the hands of Satan, and his faith waivered. Like Job, most who go through hardship face moments when their faith is struggling. I submit that it is the struggle to remain faithful which makes our journey worthwhile.
Losing hope can happen for ten thousand (10,000) reasons, and that is not hyperbole. As a Pastor, I cannot claim to have lost all faith because of circumstances beyond my control, but it has wavered. This occurs because of constant interaction with church leaders who are phonies and hypocrites.
Here are seven (7) reasons why my hope was shaken in the Lord:
1. A godly pastor was fired by a congregation, and a “wolf” replaced him. I know Jesus said: “if the world hates me, it will hate you because a server can’t be greater than their master.” Yet I thought the church was different (than the world) but in many instances, it is not.
2. The few Pastors who truly love the Lord have difficulty maintaining while wicked church Pastors prosper. I do not say this for want of money or other material possessions resulting from my service to Him. God forbid! However, I struggle to practice the text which says: “fret not yourself because of evildoers”.
3. Church leaders preach a Bible they do not fully believe. Let me be clear: “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (me included). However, to live a public lifestyle so clearly demonstrating lack of hope is difficult to watch.
4. Helplessly watching as a group of local church leaders feed on the flock instead of feeding the flock.
5. Experiencing the biblical reality that not only will followers of Satan try destroy you, they come after your family and church as well.
6. Being forced to watch them preach, play church, and knowing they are “lost”. Since Jesus comes from their lips, they believe their souls are ok. I guess they never read: “with their lips they honor me, but their hearts are far from me”.
7. Watching the “God guys” sit silently and worse, keep company with wayward preachers under a clear misunderstanding of “love and grace”. I fail to see how not speaking "truth in love" is "grace". That, to me, sounds like a form of "disdain". I love you, see you driving towards a cliff, and sit silently? True is the saying: "with friends like that, who needs enemies"?
In summary, there are myriad of reasons people lose hope. Mostly because things do not “go to plan” (theirs). Even leaders, like me, are not immune to the faith struggle either.
Who Lost Hope in Scripture
One example of someone who once had great faith, and then for a time lost it, is the Prophet Elijah (among many more). Before providing a list, it is important to point out that there were only two (2) people who did not need faith. Of course, Jesus Christ, as God himself according to John chapter 1, “is the word of faith itself”. The two (2) are not inclusive of Him.
Adam and Eve were created perfectly and without sin according to the Book of Genesis chapter 2. If we remember: “faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen”, since this couple walked in God’s presence, faith was not required. After the fall, and when God removed Himself from their presence however, they would have certainly needed faith! Not the faith of not knowing if God was real, but for everyday provision. Some who read this are struggling with what I just wrote, right? More simply: if I have seen a thing or person, why would I need faith they (or it) exists?
Here are seven (7) people, in the Bible, who lost hope:
1. Naomi - bet you didn’t see that one coming, right? After her husband and sons died, and she returned to Bethlehem, Naomi changed her name to “Mara”. This means: “the Lord has dealt treacherously with me”. We understand, however, that she was shortly to be blessed in her faith restored. (Ruth 1:20-21)
2. Elijah - after slaying 400+ false prophets on Mt. Carmel, this Prophet lost hope after a death threat from Queen Jezebel. However, God was still with him, and encouraged Elijah to keep following His commands. (1st Kings 19:1-18)
3. Jesus’ Disciples - on the night Jesus was arrested, and betrayed by Judas, the other eleven (11) disciples became discouraged and abandon Him. We have been taught that it was Peter, alone, who denied Jesus Christ this same night. However, isn’t abandoning someone we love a form of denial as well? (Mark 14:50)
4. Moses - Moses allowed his anger to overwhelm hope in God. The Bible teaches Moses disrespected God’s people out of frustration with them. This caused him to be denied entrance into the promised land by God. (Numbers 20:7-13)
5. Joshua - this mighty warrior, and leader of the nation of Israel after Moses, was defeated in battle at Ai. He was distressed, prayed before the Ark of the Lord, and God told him why. However, this did not stop both he, and the Elders of Israel, from suffering shaken faith. (Joshua 7:6-9)
6. Thomas - since the previous five (5) examples were unexpected, here is an easy one (1) we all know. This disciple of Jesus Christ is as much associated with “doubt” as Judas is with “betrayal”. Who hasn’t heard the term “doubting Thomas”? This does not suggest that Thomas’ sin was even close to that of Judas. About Judas, Jesus said “it would be better that he was never born”. (John 20:24-29, Matthew 26:24)
7. Martha (sister of Lazarus) – although this is a bit more difficult to discern, Martha suffered from rattled hope when her brother passed away. She knew Lazarus had died and thought it was now a question of Jesus resurrecting him on the last day. Essentially, she believed all hope for his living was gone. The rest, as they say, “is history”. (John 11:21-28)
In summary, there are great people in scripture who struggled in faith. It is these struggles which make them more endearing. If even the greats struggled, the sting of my failures hurt a bit less.
Can Someone Live Without Hope
Not only can someone live without hope, but the majority of humankind is actively involved in this. Christ is the only hope for the world in which we live. While religion may comfort, it is only faith in the Son of God which will matter eternally. Further, let’s take a deeper look at the word “live” to better understand. There is a difference between “living” and “existing”.
Philosophically, the difference lies in whether someone is “prospering” or just getting by. For instance, there is a physical and spiritual wholeness which results from being raised in a two-parent (man and woman only) household. This is family as God meant it, and anything else will never be equally as healthy.
The counter reality is there is a brokenness in being raised in either a single-parent household or by someone other than birth parents. People who suffer such loss of hope, are many more than you realize. Hope is reasonable and is the right of everyone! I attest to this having been raised in foster care. Such a lifestyle meant my siblings and I were simply “existing” until adulthood. Worrying about whether one (1) has a place to live from day to day doesn’t allow a child room to “breathe”. It is this “breath” which gives life, and anything less is merely existing.
Here are three (3) scriptures about living without “hope”:
1. Proverbs 13:12: this verse, as well as others in Proverbs, speak to the negative impact of lacking hope. When our hope is repeatedly misused, delayed, or disappointed, it leaves us feeling discouraged.
2. Ephesians 2:12: Paul wrote this to educate the church on the spiritual condition of those who are not in relationship with Jesus Christ. As was offered earlier, it emphasizes that apart from the Lord, we have no hope.
3. 1st Thessalonians 4:13: this exhortation, also written by Paul, teaches the hope of the resurrection for those who have died in relationship with Jesus. It also demonstrates that without this hope, grief over loss would overwhelm us.
In summary, yes, there are people in the world who live without “restorative hope”. It is safe to say that most of the planet is in this condition. Either Jesus, as He said, is the only hope for the world or he is not. Either the more than seven (7) billion people without Jesus are correct, or He is. I stake my eternal soul on the Lord being truthful and all the rest liars.
Is it Ever too Late for Hope
The answer to is it ever too late for hope is yes. According to the Holy Bible, Jesus Christ is the only hope for the world. Those who die without having placed their faith in Him, will suffer eternal separation from God and eternally burning the Lake of Fire.
Here are several examples of those who died apart from God:
1. Herod Agrippa: King Herod Agrippa was responsible for the imprisonment and execution of James, the brother of John. Later, Agrippa was struck down by an angel of the Lord. He died having refused to repent and acknowledge God’s sovereignty. (Acts 12:1-4, 21-23)
2. Ananias and Sapphira: this couple sold a piece of property and lied about how much they received. After the sale, they claimed to have given the full amount of the sale to the Apostles. When confronted by Peter, they both fell dead, having lied to the Holy Spirit. (Acts 5:1-11)
3. Judas Iscariot - this man, and his infamy, needs no introduction. After the betrayal of Jesus, he committed suicide. (Matthew 27:3-10)
In summary, there will come a time when it is too late to either receive “grace through faith” (in Jesus) or repent. When you die without Jesus, it is too late. There is also a concept called “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit” which, once committed, removes any further chance at regaining faith and salvation. (Mark 3:28-30)
How to Receive Hope
The way to receive hope, or get your faith back, is to repent in the name of Jesus Christ. It is no more difficult than that! Believe no one who teaches there are multiple steps to be forgiven by God. That is religious nonsense meant not to bring you into God’s presence but put you further under the control religious tyrants. It is the height of religious hypocrisy and false teaching. Whether great Christian leaders or the Pope in Rome, the Bible teaches: “it is by grace through faith that you would say, it is a free gift of God and not of works lest any should boast.”
This applies to those who haven’t received faith and have strayed away as well. Scripture says: “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive them and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” No one, except Jesus, has the power to absolve your sin except Jesus Christ.
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