Seven Powerful Reasons to Keep Hope Alive
Reasons to live with hope, even while facing daunting circumstances like cancer or other challenges.
By Chris Lawrence
Even in the worst circumstances, you should fight to keep hope alive.
Why? Because living with hope is like breathing air. Try living without it even for a few minutes!
Certainly, in life, we can face daunting circumstances where there seems no way out, no way forward. At some points in life, living with hope, or an expectation of coming good, sounds impossible or ludicrous, or to do so would require checking out from reality.
Trust me. I know. I’ll never forget the day I was diagnosed with incurable stage IV cancer. Several doctors essentially said there was no hope for me and that I would likely die within a year or so.
I fell into a dark place, yet all hope was not lost. After finding a new sense of hope, and walking through a long journey, my situation vastly improved. You can read my full story here.
Perhaps you are living in some dark days right now. You feel trapped by your circumstances, and you feel like giving up. You might be reluctant to keep hope alive.
And yet, I believe there are multiple reasons why you should. Here is some advice that I wish someone would have shared with me in those dark moments about keeping hope alive.
You don’t know the future.
You don’t know what will happen today and especially tomorrow. Even if you think you can envision your future, know it will likely be different than what you are thinking. Part of the process of allowing for hope in your life is humbly admitting this reality and letting go of control. As this ancient quote attests: “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 1“
Hope is a decision.
As the main character says in the movie the Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things.” Having hope is one of the best virtues in life, yet it is easy to become hopeless and sink into despair. We need to decide that we want to live with hope, to be open for coming good in our lives. I talk about the decision to choose hope in my 7-day email series called, The Pathway to Hope. Deciding to live in hope does not mean you won’t experience dark days or low moments. Yet, like investing in the stock market, choosing hope is a long term decision. Sure, there may be some temporary dips, but in the long term, it will keep rising. Make the decision to keep your hope alive today, even if there seems no good reason to.
There is new medical hope.
There are rapid advances being made in cancer care and medicine every day. Knowledge in the medical field, including cancer treatment, is accelerating at a rapid rate. “At the end of the last century, knowledge was doubling about every 100 years,” says Dr. Brian Lleyland-Jones, a cancer research doctor with the National Foundation for Cancer Research. “Now it’s doubling about every six months and with the Internet, some people believe that knowledge is doubling every 12 hours.” What this means is that people stuck with an incurable condition or perhaps condemned to die a few decades ago are finding new medical hope. And they haven’t found a breakthrough yet, they just might soon.
Some people defy their diagnosis.
It happens far more than you would think. A medical diagnosis is real and doctors seek to be helpful and realistic while not raising false hopes. Yet, some people do become “outliers”—more than you would think. Every week, dozens and even hundreds of people share stories on Hope Has Arrived about overcoming and surviving cancer, even incurable or terminal diagnosis, in the comments of our Facebook posts. Here are a few powerful stories: stage IV melanoma survivor or a woman who outlived a lupus and lung cancer diagnosis. Maybe you could be an outlier, too.
Miracles happen every day.
A miracle is “an extraordinary event” that includes “divine intervention in human affairs,” according to Miriam Webster. They happen every day and are far more common than you would think—something unexplainable and amazing and beautiful, which can change your situation quickly for good. Just because you can’t see a miracle proven empirically, or just because you have not experienced one personally doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Beyond physical healing, maybe your miracle might even be something like a reconciled relationship, which is amazing in itself. Never close the door on the possibility of a miracle. To do so would slam the door of hope.
Hope waits to be found.
Finding hope might require you to look for hope in places that you didn’t previously consider, including spiritual hope. But remember, hope is one of the few virtues that will stand the test of time. As this famous passage from the Bible says, “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love…2.” Forever is a long time! Hope helps you look forward to the future and live your best in the present moment. Do not ignore the powerful and long-lasting virtue of hope!
You can find spiritual hope.
So often, we put our hope in a variety of places, yet many of them fail us. What if I said a kind of hope exists that is certain and undefeatable, a kind you can find not just in the next thing, but in a person? Not just something to hope in, but someone. The Bible calls Jesus, God’s Son, the Living Hope. “In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope.3” God gives you hope because he loves you and has a plan for your life. The hope he provides is not something dead, but living, hence his name. And a relationship with the Living Hope can prove the best reason to keep hope alive.
Check out these hopeful words from the Bible: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.4”
Wouldn’t you like to know that there is a hopeful plan for your life, even when life seems to be crumbling around you?
How to discover spiritual hope.
You can find spiritual hope through a relationship with God. Through this life-giving relationship, you can experience a hope, strength and peace you didn’t know existed. Through this relationship, you can keep hope alive, no matter what circumstance you face.
To learn more about how to begin a relationship with God, read Knowing God Personally.
To hear some encouraging stories, read our Stories of Hope.
You can also check out my email series The Pathway to Hope.
I have a question or comment
How to know God’s hope, strength and peace
Note: We are not doctors and we cannot answer your medical questions. However, we welcome your questions about finding hope and knowing God.
Footnotes: (1) James 4:14 NIV (2) 1 Corinthians 13:13, NLT. (3) 1 Peter 1:3 NIV (4) Jeremiah 29:11 NIV