After such a difficult year it can be hard to see how the next one will be any better. It is easy for even the most optimistic person to give in to hopelessness and dread.
But, whether or not 2021 brings better news than the previous year, we can have hope. As believers in God, our hope is not based on circumstances. Instead, it is focused firmly on our unchanging God. He gives us a reason to hope when everything feels hopeless. Our God is in control of our story. Our God always provides.
Here are four Bible stories that will remind you of how God gives hope even in the midst of hopelessness. We hope they’ll refresh your faith in God provision and replenish your hope for the new year:
1. Joseph Goes to Jail (Genesis 39–45)
Joseph was in prison for a crime he did not commit. He stayed there for many years and didn’t see an end to his plight, yet he continued being faithful to God. Through God, he had the opportunity to interpret dreams for two fellow prisoners. This led to not only his release but to a new position as second to the king! And it was this very appointment that allowed Joseph to save his family from a famine.
2. Hannah has a Baby (1 Samuel 1)
Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah was able to bear children, while Hannah could not. This was painful to Hannah, and Peninnah would taunt her for not having any children. Hannah desperately wanted a child. She made a vow when all seemed hopeless, that if she were to bear a child, she would give the child to the Lord. The Lord blessed her with a child, and she gave Samuel to His service. Samuel would become a great prophet of God.
3. Daniel in the Lion’s Den (Daniel 6)
Daniel was an administrator for King Darius. The king put a law into place that anyone who prayed to any God or man besides the king would be punished, thrown into the lion’s den. Daniel, steadfast in his belief, kept praying to God even at great risk. When the king found out, he was forced to carry out punishment and threw Daniel in the lion’s den, a death sentence. Daniel, in the face of life-threatening danger, continued to trust God and God shut the mouths of the lions.
4. Bleeding Woman Seeks Healing (Mark 5:21–34)
A woman had been bleeding for 12 years. Her bleeding made her unclean which prohibited her from many things according to the Jewish culture of the time. She had gone to doctor after doctor. She spent all her money trying to cure herself of the suffering. Nothing helped, and it actually became worse. Then she heard of a man named Jesus, and she thought “If only I could touch His robes, I’ll be made well.” Because of her faith, she became healed instantly. After 12 years of suffering, she was set free.
What do these stories have in common? They tell of real people in hopeless situations, people who didn’t give up but put their faith in God. In every case, God was present, heard their cry, and delivered them.
We, too, can place our hope in God. We don’t just hope for a better year, we hope for eternity with the God who is always faithful.