Love Notes: Read and Reflect/My Faith/Scripture/Teen Faith 13 Reasons for Hope by Kelly Colangelo Hopelessness is a very real thing. It can happen when someone is going through difficult times or painful experiences. And, it can happen without specific reasons. Maybe someone feels overwhelmed, trapped, or insecure; there might be challenges that someone is facing where there seems like no solution is ever possible. The Netflix series 13 Reasons Why portrays its main character’s, Hannah’s, hopelessness, which resulted her taking her own life: committing suicide. If you’re reading this and wondering what’s a reason for my hope I want you to know there is always a reason for hope no matter how bad things seem at the moment. When my fears and life challenges kick up a storm, I turn to some of my favorite Bible passages. In the Gospel of Matthew (8:23-27) Jesus calms the storm, this reminds me to trust Him. While the feelings of hope may not always be present, I need to trust that God will redeem even the darkest situations. There is always hope no matter how frustrated you feel. There is always hope no matter how much pain and heartache you’ve endured. Hope always exists, even if you get in a fight with your best friend, there is hope; even if you have been bullied, there is hope; even if you’ve been a victim of rape, there is hope; even if you’ve encountered the darkest of situations, there is hope. For me, I used to think hope was an emotion, “today, I feel hopeful.” There were times in my life, especially during high school where I felt like fear was ruling over me and my hope was diminishing. In the Lord’s perfect timing and wisdom, I heard the words of Paul and his message: our God is a God of hope (Romans 15:13). This echoed throughout my body and shattered my understanding of hope. God can take the heart that is discouraged, broken, and hurting and fill it with new hope. You see, hope is more than a feel good emotion, it is a gift from God that He freely wants to give all of us. Why is this important? Life has its challenges. There’s obstacles amidst the twists and turns of the journey. The gift of hope allows us to approach life with confidence that our loving God has our best interests at heart and will sustain us through the storms in life. “The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity” (CCC 1818). When feelings of hopelessness start to creep in, remember these 13 reasons for our hope: 1. Christ is victorious (1 Corinthians 15: 54-58). 2. The Lord will fight for you (Joshua 10:25). 3. God has a plan and purpose for your life (Jeremiah 29:11). 4. Jesus is healer and wants to heal you (Luke 18:35-43). 5. God says you’re not alone (Isaiah 43:1-3). 6. God will always help you (Psalm 121:1-8). 7. God’s grace is enough (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). 8. He will give you hope (Romans 5:3-4, 8). 9. God will comfort you (2 Corinthians 1: 3-4). 10. God will carry your burdens (Psalms 55:22). 11. He will forgive. God says he gave his only Son for our sins (Isaiah 53:3-5). 12. God loves you (John 3:16). 13. God is with you forever (2 Corinthians 4:7, 16-18). The key to hopelessness is hope. Hope that Jesus loves you. Hope that He is, right now, working out a solution for you. Hope that the future you place in His hands will be better than the present you hold in your own. There is always hope with Jesus Christ. Remember, hope is more than a feeling, hope is a reliance on God’s infinite mercy and promises. An Act of Hope O my God, relying on Your almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Your grace and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen.