The worlds definition of hope is a feeling of expectation & a desire for a certain thing to happen. The desire for something good to happen in the future. We “hope” this thing will come to pass but we really don’t know. So, for instance we would say, I hope I get a good report from the doctor or, I hope my kids cooperate this morning so I can get to work on time.
But we can’t control the outcome. Lot’s of things in our lives are that way.
Biblical hope not only desires good in future, it expects it to happen!
It doesn’t look to what is possible from man’s perspective, it looks to the promises of God and with Him, all things are possible!
When I was a little girl, up until about the age of 7 I had hopes and dreams that my life would be happy and my home life safe. But as I grew, I came to realize and understand my home environment was not safe but scary and uncertain. I learned that the very people that were suppose to protect and love me were not reliable but were neglectful and in many instances, abusive. As I grew into adolescence, I experienced hopelessness and despair most of the time. I no longer had expectations of safety and happiness, but just to survive. At age 14, I attempted to take my life but was unsuccessful. This unhealthy thinking shaped the way I saw myself and my future, going forward. I had a very low self esteem and felt very unworthy of good things coming to me. I believed I had to fight for myself and that no one could be trusted.
I left my home and family at 15, lived on the streets for a time and dove into a life filled with drugs, heavy drinking and promiscuity, wanting to escape the pain and emptiness I felt. I continued on this destructive path and at age 24, I had an abortion and immediately following the procedure, the despair and heaviness was the most intense I had ever felt. I cried myself to sleep almost every night, knowing that I had taken the life of my child, in spite of what the world was saying and how it wasn’t a baby.
I was so ashamed and I felt like there was a dark cloud surrounding my heart. I had no one that I could trust and confide in at that time. Besides I was afraid that people would judge me for my decision.
Ironically, 9 months after my abortion, I surrendered my heart to Jesus and experienced a freedom that is hard to put into words! The darkness was lifted and for the first time since I was a child, I had hope, true hope! Although my whole life and perspective changed, I still struggled with a sense of low self worth. I sought out counseling that was based on the principles of the bible and began to read the scriptures every day!
As time passed the Lord filled me with His home and promises. My hope of the future was bright as I considered Jesus and how much He loved me. I began to think differently and as my thoughts and attitudes changed, my life began to go into a positive and healthy direction.
Although life continued to challenge me, I had the Lord and His Word that allowed me to thrive through it, as long as I looked to Him for my peace.
I recently came across a post from 2013 when I had been laid up for 2 months (couch and bed bound) and had 2 more months to go prior to surgery! I was in so much pain and I couldn’t take the strong medicine they gave me since it caused severe cramping.
Today the Lord brought to mind His gift of life. In these past few months, for me it has looked like pain, suffering and waiting on Him. It sounds strange to call this a gift. But along with the pain, It also came with an empathy to understand others suffering which is a great aid when attempting to lift their burden. It looked like the hands of many, many friends reaching out and lifting me up in more ways than I can recall. It looked like quiet moments with the Spirit of the living God, revelation and understanding of His word. I am truly blessed with all that God has brought into my life. Because I know He is molding me into a vessel He can use for His good in this world. I want to openly acknowledge that I am thankful for all God brings into my life! I love & praise the Lord Jesus Christ.
I’m sharing this to show that even in the storm, we can have joy, be at peace and see God working! There are things that come into our lives that are for the glory of God! If we trust Him, the outcome will be so much better than if we shut Him out. He will provide a better way.
I’d like to know, what are you hoping for or what has come to pass that you were hoping for and what does that look like for you today?
Are you claiming certain promises of God that you believe He will fulfill in your life? And are you asking Him to fulfill them in a specific time frame?
When we are claiming God’s promises, how do we know which of them are for us specifically? There are bible verses, God’s promises that we can apply to our present situation but be disappointed with the outcome, because we have misunderstood them. For instance, Rom 8:31-32 say, “What shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?” If I apply this passage to my current struggle and expect to receive all that I think I want or need at the very time I want it, I don’t understand the passage in context. This passage implies that God, in His wisdom, will provide the very thing we need in His perfect timing. God says that His ways are not our ways; we see the immediate and want relief but that’s not always God’s plan for us. Sometimes He sees fit to keep us in the storm to teach & build us up spiritually and show us how to lean on Him. And some of these things He promises are for us in the afterlife. So, we have to be sure we are applying the scripture in context to understand how God is working and whether a specific promise is for us in our present situation. As we commit to His Word daily and trust in His love and goodness He will continue to deepen our understanding of Him.
I deal with back, neck and joint pain every day, due to degenerative disc disease and arthritis. In my current situation, I could go to a dark place with this condition and the limitations it causes, but then I apply the passage in 2 Cor: 4:7, 16-18 which I want to share with you:
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.
For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
In this passage, Paul is reminding us that God is in control, we are encouraged to keep our faith, our hope because our inner self (our spirit) is being sanctified and renewed by our faithful God and that our eternal existence is so much more amazing and glorious than this “momentary” mortal existence. That we are to focus on those things that are unseen.
This can be a very hard thing to embrace when we are in the trial. When we surrender our lives to God, the struggles of this world don’t disappear but, we have the Lord Jesus who will walk through it with us. So, in order to keep our hope alive, we need to look to him every day. and by His Holy Spirit and His Word, we will find strength and peace!
One thing that God has taught me is to surrender my expectations and everything to Him in my life, (pain & suffering, expectations of how I think things should be, disappointments, dreams that never came to be, unsaved loved ones,) and day by day, and sometimes moment by moment I have to surrender to Him! He wants us to stay very close to Him so He can comfort and guide us. And so that we know for sure that He is the one who is directing our path.
So let’s look at some of the straightforward promises from the Lord that we can celebrate with certainty.
He promises to give us wisdom if we ask (James 1:5).
He promises to provide a way out of temptation (1 Cor. 10:13).
He promises that our salvation is secure, no matter what (John 10:28–29).
He promises to never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5).
He promises to finish the good work he has begun in us (Phil. 1:6). He promises to come back (Luke 12:40)
These promises are sure and steadfast. Do you notice that they have much more to say about who God is or how he is sanctifying us than about a specific circumstance or outcome? We are not promised certainty in our circumstances, but we are promised certainty in the God of our circumstances. And that is an anchor for the soul.
Let me leave you with this and I hope it encourages you to look to Jesus.
Rom 15:13 “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.”