Hope in God26 April, 2019
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is more than an event. This resurrection power that brought Jesus from death to life releases an amazing hope to transform lives, both now and in the future. This resurrection power is available to us and releases a hope to expect great things from God. It’s not only a desire for the good outcome; there’s a confident expectation it’ll happen because, “It is finished!” (John 19:30).
Hope can mean the difference between hanging on and giving up. It can mean keeping a positive mind when the physical evidence compels you to give up. It can involve an estimation of probabilities, not knowing what the odds are. It’s the voice in your head that says, “You can do this”. It’s this attitude of ignorance, coupled with defiance, but still choosing to ‘hope against hope’, beating the odds, having a second chance, a fresh start, and expecting your miracle, which is integral to hope. Hope is one of the three Biblical virtues alongside faith and love.
But to many, hope in God does not come naturally. Often, our hope centers on uncertainty or the negative, like ‘I hope today’s interview will turn out well’ or ‘A car passing by this way at this late hour is our only hope to get home.’ Psalm 42:5 reads, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, for the help of His presence.”
The psalmist reminds us that an uncertain hope is not what we see in the Bible, for we’re not to be disquieted and downcast. It’s not wishful thinking and it certainly does not mean ‘crossing your fingers’. Neither is it undependable and powerless.
Hope is a sure anchor of our soul and it’s to lean on this confident expectation that it’ll be done. Where there’s hope, there’s faith, because faith is the substance of things hoped for.
In Hebrews, the Christian hope is described as ‘the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.’ This hope gives basis for faith in the future tense and, is settled on the Word of God. And in this one thing we must not waver – to be rooted in the faithfulness of God and the confidence in His Word.
Where doubt, fear, hopelessness and despair reside, these have to be banished because they’re the enemies of faith. When you encounter the living Jesus, in the midst of despair, everything changes.
Hope is also connected with patient endurance, and times of trials lead to hope, Rom 5:3-5 tells us, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint …” When we hope for something, we wait for it through patience. Hope is the right response to the promises of God. For Abraham, even at a very old age, had confidence that God would fulfil His promises: “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed.” Rom 4:18
Finally, the Holy Spirit Who’s our source of hope will fill us with joy, and His peace will embolden us. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Rom 15:13
Our Christian hope has a sanctifying effect as we look expectantly for the return of Christ, knowing that when we see Him, we shall become like Him, being purified ourselves ‘as He is pure.’ (1 John 3:3)
And as John Piper puts it, “Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The temptation to quit is huge. Don’t. You are in good company … You will argue with yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible. He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing. Hope.”
Ps. Daphne Yang