Let the Truth of Your Hope
Outweigh the Feeling of It

3 Minutes of Courage Devotional Series
When I was walking through the most significant depression of my life, hopelessness soaked me to the bone. The experience of my sorrows was so severe, I felt completely detached from reality. I could not rejoice in my family, my faith, or my future. It was so disorienting because it flew in the face of everything I knew to be true in Christ.

If God will never leave me or forsake me, why does it feel like he has? If I have a living hope in Christ, why does it feel like I don't?

That hard season resulted in redemptive spiritual benefits–but I can only recognize it now with years of perspective under my belt. At the time, my despair was magnified because what I knew to be true about my identity and relationship with God did not align with my feelings. I thought the Holy Spirit packed up and left! I knew it couldn't be possible, but that was the only explanation I could come up with. I thought perhaps I had never been saved at all, or even worse, that God had used me for a while and then tossed me aside. Is there anything more terrifying to a Christian than believing they have been shunned by the God they love?
The truth is, I had become used to feeling hopeful in Christ.
But I had not learned how to trust his person as my real Hope.
No, the feeling and the Person are not the same! One is subject to the faulty interpretations of the world, and the Other has overcome the world completely (John 16:33)! One still wrestles between the Spirit and the flesh, and the Other holds the keys death and Hades (Revelation 1:18)! The feeling stands on shifting sands, but the Person holds the sands of time (Psalm 31:15, Daniel 2:21)! To trust Christ as our living Hope means we do not allow our feelings to dictate what's most true about us. How could they?! Our perceptions are not the standard of truth–Jesus Christ, the Savior, the Lord, the Word, the Hope of the World, is.

It is not the strength of our hope that sustains us, but the object of it. Unlike our feelings, our Hope is unchangeable because God is unchangeable. Hebrews 6:18 says God cannot lie, and in Christ, he cannot withdraw his promises from us (2 Cor. 1:20). For this reason, "we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be strongly encouraged."
We may be hopeless in feeling, but never in faith.
Christ holds our place in paradise–
that's what real Hope offers us (1 Peter 1:3-5).
Today, I invite you into a courage challenge. This is something I did shortly after my hospitalization a few years ago. Even if your voice is sullen and your countenance is low, pray this prayer and ask God to make the comfort of your Hope in Christ a sustaining grace for today: 
Christine M. Chappell
Christine Chappell is the author of Clean Home, Messy Heart, and is a guest contributor at Desiring God. She writes frequently about mental health topics at her blog, has completed biblical counseling certificates with the Institute for Biblical Counseling & Discipleship, and is currently pursuing certification with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.
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