"He encourages those who are losing hope." —Sirach 17:19
Hope in the Lord leads directly to strength. Those who hope in the Lord will never fail in strength (1 Mc 2:61) and actually renew their strength (Is 40:31). This is because "hope remains" after all else passes away (see 1 Cor 13:13). A people of hope is forever a people of strength.
Since hope is so critical to strength, it follows that Satan would relentlessly attack people to prevent them from growing in hope. To beat down our hope, Satan bludgeons us with:
- a delaying game. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick" (Prv 13:12) rather than strong. We defeat this by lovingly waiting on the Lord (Is 40:31, RSV-CE) as long as it takes.
- disappointments. We don't let defeats conquer hope, for "hope will not leave us disappointed" (Rm 5:5; Is 49:23).
- sadness, which can lead to despair. We must fight this by rejoicing in hope (Rm 12:12) always (Phil 4:4).
- repeated temptations to focus on self instead of God. Instead, we must look at what God has done in past generations (Sir 2:10). Those who have hoped in God have always been rewarded.
We may be so battered by trials that we are unable to raise our heads, much less grow in hope. God lifts up our head (Ps 3:4) and refuses to let us lose hope. The Lord Himself "encourages those who are losing hope" (Sir 17:19). When all seems hopeless, God Himself will give us a living hope (see 1 Pt 1:3, RNAB). Therefore, never give up, never stop waiting on the Lord, never give in to hopelessness, "and always hope in your God" (Hos 12:7).
Prayer: Jesus, I will focus on You, my Hope of glory (Col 1:27).
Promise: "With God all things are possible." —Mk 10:27
Praise: Pope St. Gregory VII's last words were: "I have loved justice and hated iniquity...therefore, I die in exile" (see Ps 101).
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 21, 2014
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