How Do We Lose Our Hope?

I think we all know how hope gets lost: time after time of getting hurt with no relief in sight. Eventually your self-image gets distorted until it doesn’t even come close to resembling the one God intended.

a powerful holy soul tie forms at birthEvery child essentially starts out on the same plane. A baby has only basic needs: comfort (clean diapers), security and love (having needs met when they occur), and sustenance (food and drink). As long as his little tummy is filled and his other physical needs are supplied, as long as his emotional needs for comfort and love are met, and if these things are done according to his timetable, the little one is a happy camper. His world is intact. He learns to have hope because of his experiences.

But if his needs are ignored or, worse, if he is punished for expressing them, he learns to fear the future. He becomes insecure and loses hope for stability—of course, he can’t express that.

He just knows life isn’t good.

An abused child learns fast not to aggravate the perpetrator by having needs. He learns that frightened childwhat he wants isn’t important. And he learns to placate or avoid the perpetrator.

Hope disappears, fading away into nothingness. Proverbs 13:12 says it this way: Hope deferred makes the heart sick.

According to, defer means to put off or delay. Our lives are full of delays, aren’t they? Waiting in line at the store or a traffic light, waiting for a package to arrive, waiting to find out if you’ve passed a test—frustrating, but manageable.

Why are these delays (or deferrals) manageable? Because there is a timetable. We know that within minutes or weeks or even months the waiting will end and we will have our answer.

hope sinkingAbused and neglected children or adults have no timetable. They have no way of knowing when, or even if, the torment will end. That indefinite deferral of hope indeed sickens the heart. Any hope that still flickers will continue to fade with the passage of time. And when hope is gone, we usually can’t even deal appropriately with the cessation of torment. We’re too beaten down. Our resources are depleted.

I remember when the Soviet Union collapsed and dissolved. People who had lived under totalitarian communist rule for their entire lives had no idea how to make choices for their own benefit. Any hope for individual development was gone. Those who had not been given opportunity to know God were mentally and emotionally lost. Without the State making decisions for them, they couldn’t function well. And, of course, criminal elements moved in and tried (and often succeeded) to take over because of this result of indefinite deferral of hope.

Abuse survivors live in the same type of quagmire. With hope gone, a sick and dying heart results. And the soul can’t summon the energy to respond to freedom when it comes.

But hope can be restored! The God of Hope is also the Restorer of hope.

this is part 4 of a series on abuse recovery

Part 1| Am I Alone in my Pain?

Part 2| Do You Have Hope?

Part 3| Putting Your Hope in God is Safe

all illustrations courtesy of