A number of years ago I heard a story about the terrible mental and physical effects of life in a Soviet gulag, a prison camp in the remote Siberian tundra. The story is that prisoners were sent to the prisons and many lost all hope of every getting out alive. The climate and distance of thousands of miles from civilization, coupled with the harsh climate made escape virtually impossible. Additionally,the incarcerated were tasked with meaningless jobs, such as digging holes in the frozen permafrost soil, only to then fill the holes back up. This was done day after day, month after month. and on. Many of the men eventually went insane because of the meaningless work and life without any hope of things getting better. Some even became ill and died within a few years, except for those who never lost hope that they would one day be released. Similar stories abound of people who in desperate situations either survived or succumbed, all based on whether they were hopeful or hopeless.

Hope is a mental attitude and really has little to do with your actual situation. We know this is true because we can have two people in the exact same situation and one will be hopeless while the other is hopeful. Having hope that is real and alive is vital to life itself. The degree to which people live a joyful and fulfilled life is directly related to amount of hope they have daily. We must learn to live life daily with hope! It is the key to being a victor or a victim.

Proverbs 13:12
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.