“If you’re listening, you’re too late,” claim the grim posters for the controversial Netflix Original Series 13 Reasons Why, which dropped its second season in late May, and has just been renewed for a third season.
The widespread popularity of 13 Reasons Why—which chronicles the lead up to and fallout of a high schooler’s suicide—suggests that it has touched a nerve in our culture. With its themes of suicide, bullying, sexual assault and rape, and revenge, the world of 13 Reasons Why is a brutal one, offering very little hope or encouragement to those struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts. In a world that can feel overwhelmed with pain, tragedy, and the brokenness that comes with sin, it can be all too easy to see reasons to give up, and all too hard to remember the reasons to keep going.
Thankfully, the Word of God offers a myriad of reasons to hope, persist, and persevere—even in the face of troubles and trials, even when situations feel hopeless or overwhelming, even when it feels like it’s too late. Here are 13 messages of hope from God’s Word, promising that it is never too late, no matter how dark things may seem.
If you use the YouVersion Bible App, don’t miss our 13 Reasons to Keep Going reading plan—a 13-day journey back to hope!
1. Your life is not meaningless
One of the most dangerous lies that despair can foster is the idea that life is meaningless, lacking purpose or any reason to keep going. But the Bible affirms that there is hope in God’s promises, love, and faithfulness. Hope is a powerful antidote to despair and feelings of meaninglessness. God promises that there is hope for the future, and that God will “wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4, NIV).
2. Pain does not last forever
However overwhelming despair may feel in the moment, it will not continue without end. The organization Screening for Mental Health states that “the impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.” Psalm 30:5 says “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Though the rejoicing does not always come as soon as we might hope, God promises that the weeping will not endure forever.
3. God hears your cries
It can be easy to feel like God is silent, or far away from the experiences of your life. However, the Bible promises that “the righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:17-18, NIV). Suffering does not go unnoticed by God; in fact, God is particularly close to the brokenhearted.
4. Jesus knows what it’s like to suffer
Not only does Jesus hear the pain of the brokenhearted, but He also empathetically understands what it is like to suffer. From personal betrayal to physical pain, Jesus experienced what it means to be human. In the Garden of Gethsemane before Jesus was arrested, Matthew 22:44 says, “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Jesus felt anguish. Many believe his ‘sweat like drops of blood’ came from extreme anxiety that He was feeling. Your feelings are not incomprehensible to God, and you are not alone.
5. God is true, in spite of how you feel
Emotions can be incredibly powerful and can alter our perception of our reality. While times of depression or struggle may lead you to doubt God’s goodness and faithfulness, remember that God promises that “he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:9, NIV). God is faithful and true, even if you don’t feel it in this season.
6. Just because God seems silent doesn’t mean God is absent
In the book of Job, Job bemoans the apparent absence of God in the face of his suffering, saying “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him” (Job 23:8-9, NIV). However, the thought doesn’t end there. Job goes on to say “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10, NIV). Just because you do not sense the presence of God doesn’t mean God does not know what you are feeling and experiencing, or that God doesn’t have a plan for your life.
7. Nothing can separate you from the love of God
In the grip of depression, anxiety, or pain, you can doubt your own lovability and self-worth. The Bible assures us that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, NIV). No situation or feeling can take away the love that God has for you.
8. God is with you, and you are not alone
God promises “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2, NIV). Whether you are grappling with mental illness, challenging circumstances, or a crisis of faith, you do not pass through the waters alone; God is always with you.
9. Jesus offers rest for your soul
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells the crowd, ““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29, NIV). Jesus welcomes the tired, hurt, and burdened, and offers relief and rest. He knows how you feel, and He wants you to be able to find peace in Him.
10. God has overcome the world
God does not promise that life in this world will be easy; however, God does assure us that even though trials will come, He has triumphed over them, saying “in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV).
11. Your life has inherent value
You are made in the image of God, and therefore your life has intrinsic worth and value. Furthermore, you are deeply loved and treasured by God. God created you, loves you, and will not forsake you. You are God’s precious creation and your life is deeply valuable.
12. Those who experience depression and anxiety are a part of God’s story and plan
Not only is your life incredibly valuable to God, but throughout the Bible, God uses those who experience depression, anxiety, and hardship as integral parts of His story. From Job to King David to the prophets Elijah and Jeremiah, the Bible is full of stories of people who struggled with feelings of hopelessness. Your struggles do not hold you back from playing an important part in God’s story.
13. The promise of resurrection and redemption still lies ahead
Besides hope and confidence in God’s love and promises, we also have the eternal hope of redemption to look forward to. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 says “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” We can look to the hope of God’s restoration both of ourselves and of our fallen world, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10, NIV).
If you are struggling with depression and/or thinking of taking your own life, please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline—a free, 24-hour, confidential hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress including veterans and Spanish speakers (1-800-273-TALK).
13 Reasons to Keep Going – A YouVersion Reading Plan
The Netflix Original Series 13 Reasons Why follows the events leading up to and following a teenager’s suicide. It focuses on a subject of great concern to our culture, but does so in a way that offers little hope for those dealing with depression or suicidal thoughts. Our YouVersion reading plan, 13 Reasons to Keep Going, shares the encouragement God has provided in His Word for those struggling to find reasons to keep going.
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