“…Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope.” I Timothy 1:1
Paul writes to the Corinthians saying that without hope “we are of all men most miserable.” I Cor 15:19. As I meditate on this today I look at the situations around me, wayward teens, failing families, unfaithful friends, flagging economies and it can all look so hopeless. How are we to affect any change? How can we infuse hope into situations and lives over which we have no control?
Surely Christ is the only hope. Without hope in His ability, His faithfulness, His assured love and care we would collapse and fall from faith. Yet, the love of Christ constrains us. It holds us together and points us to Himself thus restoring hope. Hebrews 6:19 says this hope in Christ is “an anchor for the soul both sure and steadfast.
“Lord, help us to keep our eyes on you. Help us to take heed to ourselves and keep ourselves in the love of God so that your Spirit can minister to us in the midst of despair and give us hope that is founded and settled solely in you; the anchor for our soul.”
In what or on whom is your soul anchored? Where to you pin your hopes?
“…hopeth all thing…and now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three….I Corinthians 13:7, 13
We have no problem understanding the power of great faith and great charity (love), but one may struggle at the idea of great hope. It sounds naïve and hollow like a Granny hoping her wayward grandson won’t steal from her again, though he always does. Or, like a person who can’t carry a tune bragging about their goal of winning American Idol.
Both scenarios are futile. Granny needs to wise up and protect herself, and the singer needs a dose of reality. Yet, hope is placed alongside faith and love as one of the characteristics that will last. Vine defines it as “favourable and confident expectation”. It is happy anticipation of good. Hope for the person of faith and love is not naïve or groundless. It is based on the solid foundation of the love of God and faith in Christ and rests with happy anticipation in the promises of God’s Word, which cannot fail.
Hope says, no matter what today looks like, tomorrow will be better. No matter how hard things are now, in time it will ease. No matter how bleak the picture, God is able to make it better and I will wait, stay faithful and continue to live in hope because He is faithful and can be trusted.
Hope looks for the coming Saviour. Hope knows how to “futurize”; to think upon the final goal or outcome in order to draw motivation and encouragement for today. Hope says, “I know my God is able…so I will wait upon Him.”
Are you facing hard times? Does all seem lost or too hard to face? Can you place your sight on a better day and believe God is able?
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.”
Every “why” question demands a measure of hope to be able to accept the answer, so the question “why” and the answer of hope go together. For example, we ask the mechanic, “Why doesn’t my car work,” and we hope the answer is simple and cheap! We ask why someone is upset with us and we hope the answer is easily resolved. We ask why we have to have an operation and we hope the doctor knows his stuff.
David asked his soul why it was depressed. Then, even without an answer, he turned to look past the current “why” to the ultimate truth – God would take him through. He doesn’t seem to surmise if the remedy will be simple, cheap, easy or without fear, but his faith is strong enough to know that his current emotional state is temporary and refuses to allow it full control. He can continue to function if he looks up in faith to God. Help and praise will come. His hopes will be realized, because his hope is based in God – not his emotions.
Someone once wrote: “Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, but faith looks forward!” Sound advice!
Do discouragements get you side-tracked? Can you hope, without an answer, and believe God is the lifter up of your head and that praise will return?
“…for we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope. For what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” But if we hope for that we see not,
then do we with patience wait for it.”
Romans 8:24 – 25
This verse always reminds me of Christmas. I remember my thirteenth Christmas. There was an odd cylinder shaped present under the tree for me. I shook it and it had a nice rattling sound. My sister said it had makeup inside. Oh, I so looked forward to opening that gift. I hoped she was right! But, on Christmas day my curious cylinder present was a pair of attachable roller skates. My hopes were dashed!
I am so thankful that this verse is not really referring to Christmas gifts. The hope of this verse is much more precious. We are saved by hope. From the moment we place our faith in Christ we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and we begin our journey toward heaven and our final restoration. That is our hope.
If we had been immediately translated to heaven upon salvation, there would be no need for hope. Hope is a wonderful space of time for us to imagine what God has for us in the end. But, you know, we are finite. Our hope and imaginations are too small to realize all God has prepared for us. It will be much better than Christmas!
Can you patiently wait? Do thoughts about and images of Heaven make your heart long for home?
“It is good for a man that he should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.” Lamentations 3:24
My husband is an amazing man with an innate ability to wait on the Lord. He doesn’t like to wait for his supper or to wait in a queue, but he will wait literally years for God to work in people’s lives, all the while placing his hope and faith solidly upon God in anticipation of the day God opens doors. I have watched this many times during our ministry and have seen this wisdom in hopefully waiting. Yet, though I see it and I relish the joy of hopes realized, I still get anxious for God to work faster.
Jeremiah said it is good for us to hope and wait. What does he mean? Does he mean that waiting has a definite benefit to us? Does he mean that those who have learned to hope and wait find more happiness in the outcome than those of us who strain and push to see things happen? I don’t have the answer, but I can see the lesson and have experienced it in ministry.
“Lord, help me to just get in my place and quietly hope in your ability and timing.”
What about you? Are you pushing through life or resting in hope? Does your health or attitude reveal any answers?