This simple word yields great power. Without it, we can lose the will to live. With it, we can endure anything.
I want to give an answer for the hope that is in me (I Peter 3:16). It’s not based on anything this world has to offer, though I spent much of my life hinging my happiness on that someone or something I thought would satisfy me.
I set my eyes on the object of my desire, and it ruled my sense of well-being. As a young woman, I wanted to be tall, thin, fashionable, popular and noticed. In my career, I wanted the other person’s position or account; I wanted more money or more recognition. As a new wife and mother, I wanted a lifestyle and possessions others had but were out of my reach. I wanted my husband to change and my marriage to be peaceful, and I wanted to stay home with my children. I wanted to be the sweet, serene, godly woman I admired at church.
In the absence of what I thought would improve me or my lot in life, hopelessness found its home in my heart.
I lived the reality of Proverbs 13:12: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Everything that makes up our insides – our heart, soul, mind, will, character, emotions, and even courage – becomes weak, wounded, grieved and tired when our hopes are dragged along and the realization of what we want so badly is drawn out or destroyed.
But there’s another truth in this verse: “But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”
When the longing of our heart comes to pass, we are revived!
The key to unwavering hope is the whom or what of our desire.
If the object of our hope is the One who never leaves or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5), the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), the One whose blood saves us (Hebrews 10:19), the One through whom our salvation is guaranteed (Ephesians 1:13-14), the One from whom no one and nothing on this earth can separate us (Romans 8:38-39), and if the object of our hope is the expectation of eternal life with Him, then we are NEVER without hope and always have reason to rejoice!
Even in the midst of tragedy. Even when we’re struggling. Even when everything around us is hopeless.
Circumstances can’t change who Jesus is and the promises of His word because they have everything to do with Him and nothing to do with us. For “when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).
We hope in Him because He “made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:5-9).
Are you feeling hopeless in any area of your life? What seems impossible to you? Perhaps you need to change the whom or what of your hope.
Consider God –
He keeps truth forever.
He executes justice for the oppressed.
He gives food to the hungry.
He gives freedom to the prisoners.
He opens the eyes of the blind.
He raises those who are bowed down.
He watches over the strangers.
He relieves the fatherless and widow.
He gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.
He cannot lie.
He strengthens the hearts of all who hope in Him.
He is good!
His mercy endures forever.
His compassions fail not; they are new every morning.
Great is His faithfulness!
(Psalm 146:6-10, Romans 4:17, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18, Psalm 31:34, I Chronicles 16:34, Lamentations 3:22-23)
“‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’ The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lamentations 3:24-26).
To hope in anything or anyone else is futile, for “no king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength. Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine” (Psalm 33:16-19).
Our soul waits for You, Lord, our help and our shield. Our hearts rejoice in You, because we trust in Your holy name. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, just as we hope in You (Psalm 33:20-22) and become more wholly Yours today.