Keeping up with what's going on in the world is important. It helps you become a responsible, informed citizen. As a person of faith, you can also pray in more detail for the world when you know what the needs are around you.
Being bombarded with devastating news can also take its toll on your hope, though. It can be difficult to remember that there is also good in the world. It may even threaten your belief in a loving God. When you start to despair, there are some things you can do to seek hope in the midst of suffering.
In Good News
If all you ever watch is the nightly news, it's likely that you are getting mostly negative messages. The top story often centers on violence or some type of devastating event, and that's what newscasters devote the most time to. It's important to keep in mind, however, that no matter how terrible the news is, it's still just a handful of stories. You need to seek out uplifting narratives to balance your perspective.
A good place to look for things that are going well is your church newsletter or website. The positive news you see there is a good reminder that there are people actively making the world a better place. These stories not only show you that there is something to look forward to but also can revitalize the love you have for your faith community.
A scarcity mindset is one of the main culprits of hopelessness. So many people have needs that could be met if there was enough to go around or if those who have an abundance were more inclined to share it. It's easy to feel dejected when all the problems you witness seem much bigger than the resources available to solve them.
A good way to combat these feelings is to look for the people who are working on the solution. For example, if the problem that seems insurmountable to you is poverty, start by making a list of organizations that help those who are struggling financially in your community:
- Homeless shelters
- Soup kitchens
- Food banks
- Mutual aid groups
Next, look over their websites to see how you can get involved. You may not be able to solve world hunger singlehandedly, but feeding those in your community can help restore some of your faith in (and thus your hope for) humanity.
Another good way to maintain hope is to remember that you don't have to do it alone. You are probably already part of a group at church that meets regularly to share what's going on in everyone's lives. If you find yourself without hope, fight the urge to plaster on a smile and pretend everything is OK. Being honest about your struggles gives them the opportunity to pray for you and build you up.
The relationships you form in your prayer groups can also be a place where you share hope with others. Every time you tell them about how God answered a particular prayer or give them an update on a tough situation that turned out well, you may be a source of hope for them. Hope is contagious, and the reciprocity found in deep spiritual relationships helps everyone involved hold on to it.
Occasionally losing hope is a normal part of human life, even for those who regularly engage in spiritual practices. Rather than dwell on the negative feelings of hopelessness, you can actively seek to restore the positive outlook you want to have. By cultivating a well-rounded view of the world, you are more likely to find hope in the balance.