Each day has troubles. Sometimes the troubles are so great that we think they will break us. Unimaginable troubles…we never saw coming, hit us with such force, we are knocked down. We look up, searching for help, but we feel weighted down where we are. God knows we will have troubled times such as these. He desires we place our hope in Him rather than our circumstances. In order to do that, we must have a healthy understanding of hope.
What Is Hope?
In Scripture, hope is a confident expectation for the future, describing both the act of hoping and the object hoped for. When grounded in God, hope provides the motivation to live the Christian life even in the face of trouble. Having hope is to imagine a favorable outcome because we’re confident in hope’s source.
The Source Of Hope
Despite all this, I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile in the land of their enemies. I will not cancel my covenant with them by wiping them out. I, the Lord, am their God. (Leviticus 26:44)
A Christian’s hope is based on God’s faithfulness. These verses show what God meant when he said he is slow to anger (Exodus 34:6). Even if the Israelites chose to disobey and were scattered among their enemies, God would still give them the opportunity to repent and return to him. His purpose was not to destroy them, but to help them grow.
Our day-to-day experiences and hardships are sometimes overwhelming; unless we can see that God’s purpose is to bring about continual growth in us, we may despair. The hope we need is well expressed in Jeremiah 29:11-12: ” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen.’ ” Retaining hope while we suffer shows we understand God’s merciful ways of relating to his people.
Where Do We Find Hope
Jesus ignored their comments and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just trust me.” (Mark 5:36)
Hope comes from trusting Christ. Jairus’s crisis made him feel confused, afraid, and without hope. Jesus’ words to Jairus in the midst of crisis speak to us as well: “Don’t be afraid. Just trust me.” In Jesus’ mind, there was both hope and promise. The next time you feel hopeless and afraid, look at your problem from Jesus’ point of view. He is the source of all hope and promise.
Since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. (Romans 5:1-2)
Hope comes from remembering all that God has done for us. As Paul states clearly in 1 Cor. 13:13, faith, hope, and love are at the heart of the Christian life. Our relationship with God begins with faith, which helps us realize that we are delivered from our past by Christ’s death. Hope grows as we learn all that God has in mind for us; it gives us the promise of the future. And God’s love fills our life and gives us the ability to reach out to others.
Our Hope Grows During Difficult Times
Hope grows as we depend on God in the difficult times. For first-century Christians, suffering was the rule rather than the exception. Paul tells us that in the future we will become, but until then we must overcome. This means we will experience difficulties that help us grow. We rejoice in suffering not because we like pain or deny its tragedy, but because we know God is using life’s difficulties and Satan’s attacks to build our character. The problems that we run into will develop our perseverance—which in turn will strengthen our character, deepen our trust in God, and give us greater confidence about the future. You probably find your patience tested in some way every day. Thank God for those opportunities to grow, and deal with them in his strength (see also James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-7).
How do you remain hopeful during difficult times?