Excitedly and optimistically, my sister-in-law’s family agreed upon the perfect name for their new puppy: they would call her “Hope.” Imagine her surprise when she realized the frequency in which she needed to yell, “No Hope,” on any given day! We laughed at the irony. Yet I wonder as we enter a new year if we utter those same words or perhaps believe that because of a certain situation, difficulty, or disappointment that we have no hope ourselves. Hope simply refers to something that is desired or anticipated, usually accompanied by an expectation that it can or will be fulfilled. Perhaps a good question to ask ourselves is: in what (or in whom) is our hope?
When the psalmist asked, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” (Psalm 43:5), he was describing an inner commotion, possibly even an uproar of heart and mind, a turbulence experienced within one’s soul. Such a disquieting within, such noise in one’s inner being would surely lead the psalmist to declare “there is no hope,” wouldn’t it? Quite the contrary! In fact, the psalmist firmly answered his questions with the only remedy to his inner disturbance, and our’s as well: “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 43:5).
“Parts of your life will be good, maybe even wonderful. Parts of your life will be bad, maybe awful. Don't fix your eyes too much on any of it. If you look too much at the good you'll get cocky. If you look too much at the bad you'll get defeated. Nowhere does the Bible say to put your hope in life improvement; you'd spend your days in fear of disappointment. Hope in God. Fix your eyes on Him, and let Him give you what He wants to; for you it will all turn out to be good.” (Anne Ortlund)
While we certainly experience disappointment as we go through the hardships of life, Biblical hope, hope in God, never disappoints. We aren’t speaking of simple wishful thinking, such as when my children circled items in a toy catalog and said, “I hope I get this for Christmas!” No, the hope that we have is defined as a “desire for some future good with the confident expectation of obtaining it” (Websters 1828 Dictionary)! Paul wrote, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5).
How can we be confident in hope when everything around us suggests otherwise? How can we stand securely when inner turmoil seemingly strips us of the little hope that we have? First, let us remind ourselves of the true definition of hope, the Biblical definition, that as children of God, we can have a confident expectation in the good that is yet to come. We will not be disappointed! Second, like the psalmist, let us recall the proper source of hope; our hope is not found in people or in situations improving or in our own resolve to do better. Our hope is found in God alone. Third, let us receive His lavish love, which was demonstrated upon the cross and has since been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. This great love convinces us that we are His! Fourth, let us rejoice and declare with the psalmist, “I will yet praise Him!” Warren Wiersbe wrote, “You have a secure future in Jesus Christ. The best is yet to come. Hope in God and start praising Him. The psalmist said, I shall yet praise Him. But don't wait! Start praising Him now. I've discovered that when I get discouraged, the best thing to do is praise the Lord immediately. Praise is the greatest medicine for a broken heart. The cure for being down is to hope in God and praise Him. Your hope in Him is well founded, for He is ever faithful to His Word. Are you discouraged? You may not be able to change your circumstances, but you can praise God.” Last, let us remain in His Word, “God’s book of hope.” As we read His Word, we can’t help but be encouraged by His promises and take heart through His perspective. “No one is hopeless whose hope is in God's Word.”
There is a saying, “No God. No Peace. Know God. Know Peace.” We could additionally say, “No God. No Hope. Know God. Know Hope.” How glorious it is to know the God of hope!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
With much love and hope in Christ,