5 Places in the Bible to Look to When You Need Hope

There are Bible verses about hope, love and victory.

Is anxiety closing in? Or perhaps the future seems bleak and you've had weeks of sleepless nights wrestling with life's circumstances. Here are five Bible verses about hope that can give you the direction you need today.

Once upon a time I was lost along with five other people in the Sahara Desert. At night. With only the headlights of two Toyota pickup trucks to guide us. It was mildly terrifying, and one of many times in my life when I didn’t know where to turn, not just in a figurative sense, but also literally. I didn’t know which sand dune to point the truck toward because there wasn’t a road to follow. Because it was nighttime. It gets dark really fast in the desert.

The Bible recognizes that there are moments like the moment I experienced in the desert for all of us. These are the times when you truly don’t know what the next step is; when anxiety is closing in; when everywhere seems like darkness you can’t get through; when you've lost all hope; when you don’t know where to turn. That’s why the Bible tells us to “look.” 

But there are Bible verses about hope, love and victory. There are five places you can focus your gaze during those times when you don’t know where to turn.

1. Matthew 6:26-30 

"Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith?"

Why does Jesus bring up the flowers and the birds as the point of our gaze? It’s specifically to deal with our anxiety. When we have worries about our physical needs, wondering if God can be trusted with the very basics of human life, we turn our eyes to the flowers and the birds. There we see that God is a loving Creator, and if He takes care of the flowers and birds, then He will surely take care of us.

2. Luke 24:39 

"Look at My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself! Touch Me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.”

Why does Jesus tell us to look to His hands and feet? He said this to the disciples who doubted that He was truly risen from the dead. He wanted them to see that He was real, more real than any ghost or figment of a frayed imagination, real as real can be. During this time, the disciples had lost all hope, and some even began to doubt. But what should we do when we lose all hope? Our better yet, when we begin to doubt? When we find ourselves wondering if there is a real God who really cares about our real problems in the real world, we fix our eyes on the redeemed wounds of Jesus, which remind us that He does indeed care about real life, for He Himself has experienced the worst of it.

3. Philippians 2:4 

"Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."

Why does Paul tell us to look to, or consider, the interests of others ahead of our own? It’s first and foremost for the sake of unity in the church. But looking to the interests of others also helps us immensely when we don’t know where to turn because it’s in moments like that when we can disappear down the rabbit hole of self-interest. No one understands; no one sympathizes; no one can help. So the thought pattern goes, and when you add on running and re-running a multitude of scenarios about “what happens next,” you can drive yourself insane. But we can break out of that cycle by turning our gaze to the interests of others. When we wonder which way to turn, we can always help someone else find their way.

4. 1 John 3:1 

"Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know Him."

Why does John, the disciple Jesus loved, tell us to look again on that great love by which we have been called the children of God? It’s because when we don’t know where to turn, the very core of our identity is shaken. We lose a job, a loved one, a relationship, or whatever defined us, and it leaves us reeling. It leaves us asking, “Who am I without this thing that is now gone?” John gives us the answer which provides hope. No matter what happens, we look to the love of God and know we are His child.

5. The Book of Revelation 

“Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look—I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades" (Revelation 1:17-18).

For most people, The Book of Revelation may not be the first place to look when you need Bible verses about hope. But if you look closely, you'll see multiple reminders to see the conquering Christ returning; look and see the realities of heaven; look and see the destruction of evil and the devil. The word "look" appears some 24 times in my translation of Revelation. 

Look to the end. When we fix our eyes on what is not yet, and, yet, what surely will be the everlasting reality of the universe, we can continue on. True enough, there are days (many of them, in fact) when we don’t know where to turn. But in this, too, the Bible helps us fix our eyes in the right place, finding there the God who has already fixed His own gaze on us because of the gospel. 

More Bible Verses About Hope

"What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He did not even spare His own Son but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything? Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies. Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: Because of You we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! (Romans 8:31-39)"

Article courtesy of HomeLife magazine.

Michael Kelley lives in Nashville, Tenn., with his wife, Jana, and three children: Joshua, Andi, and Christian. He serves as the Director of Groups Ministry for LifeWay Christian Resources. As a communicator, Michael speaks across the country at churches, conferences, and retreats, and is the author of Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal: A Boy, Cancer, and God; Transformational Discipleship; and Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life.