Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has a good plan for our lives – “to give us a future and a HOPE.”
God of Hope
God is “the God of Hope” and He wants to “fill you with all joy and peace in believing (through the experience of your faith) that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises” (Rom 15:13). With God, it’s never too late to start believing, anticipating, hoping and expecting.
Power of Hope
What I find fascinating about Hannukah, the Jewish festival of lights celebrated at this time of the year, is the power of a hope-filled people. Zerubbabel, the Persian governor of occupied Judea, had laid the foundation and rebuilt the Temple of God in Jerusalem. Herod the Great, in his quest for personal aggrandisement, razed the Temple constructed by Zerubbabel to the ground and then rebuilt it to become one of the greatest religious edifices in the Roman Empire.
Sandwiched between these two grand construction projects came the Maccabean Revolt. What followed was a series of events leading to the desecration of the Jewish Temple. This led to the Maccabean Revolt resulting in the rededication of the Jewish Temple. It was a costly battle that was secured after much bloodshed. Still, a ragtag Jewish army prevailed against the mighty Greeks. God worked in conjunction with their persevering efforts.
The story of the Maccabees and its message of hope needs to be told. When the Maccabean leaders went about the process of purifying the Temple, they found a single cruse of oil with its seal still intact. It was here where they relit the Menorah, the great candelabrum in the Temple.
Miraculously the light lasted eight days and that became the central narrative of Hanukkah. It became a festival of light within the Jewish home symbolising the light of hope that could not be extinguished. It’s still observed to this very day. Its message was captured in a phrase from the prophet Zechariah, “Not by might nor by power but by My spirit, says the Lord Almighty” (Zech 4:6). Never underestimate the power of hope!
Definition of Hope
One definition of “hope” is “a favourable and confident expectation.” Bill Johnson puts it this way – “Hope is the joyful anticipation of goodness, and this creates an atmosphere that attracts the promises of God.”
I believe many times we take a passive attitude where we adopt a “wait and see” type of attitude; hoping that God will make something happen. A better approach is to have a purposeful expectation where we anxiously anticipate God to move in accordance to His Word. He desires for us to actively anticipate something good. So what are you expecting? Have you stopped expecting?
When a woman is pregnant, we say that she’s “expecting”. And the further along she is in the pregnancy, the more she anticipates the birthing that’s to come. Those who are mothers will share their excitement toward the end of the pregnancy. Each day she awakes with the expectation that “Today is going to be the day – it has to be the day!” It’s coming!
This is exactly how God wants you to be with Him! He has an incredible plan for your life, and He wants you to anticipate that good things are right around the corner. You may say, “people and circumstances may have been this way for a long time.” Hope says, “God is the God of the impossible, and things can change.” Start expecting again.
How would you assess the year 2017 as it comes to a close? Has there been pain and disappointment resulting in a resignation that things will not improve in 2018? Don’t give into the lies of the enemy. It’s in his interest to discourage and convince you that things will not get better. We serve a God of Hope, a God of New Beginnings and a God of Second Chances. God wants to fill you with overflowing hope!
Messengers of Hope
Dr Bailey shared in June 1, 2008, how he had a vision of a beautiful lake in Heaven and by this lake, there was a bed of daffodils. He asked his heavenly escort what this represented and was told that this field in heaven was planted by Cornerstone. Now the daffodil is also known as the “resurrection flower” and is the symbol of the American Cancer Society. It’s a symbol of hope and what God seeks to do is to implant in the hearts and minds of those in Cornerstone, the emblem of hope. He wants to give us authority over cancer. He wants us to be His messengers of hope, to impart hope to others.
Hope is to the heart what seeds are to the earth. Let’s start sowing and spreading the Good News during this festive season!
Pastor Timothy Chong