In surveying the communities I am involved in, I see a resilience stirring in some people; but, I also see a weariness in others. The past few years have been trying and divisive for the majority of people for various reasons. Friends, if you are growing tired because of the canvas in front of you, let me encourage you to add the lens of eternal love to whatever is staring back at you. It is time to hope again! If you have accepted God’s gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, you have every reason to be encouraged, and it is a good time to talk about it.
- “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1).
Have you meditated on this verse lately? The 2020 version of the New American Standard Bible provides the following transliteration.
- “Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen.”
When we contemplate the word “hope” within this verse, we should consider what the writer intended to communicate. The author of Hebrews (who was the Holy Spirit inspiring a human being) used the Greek word “elpízō”. Elpízō means to expect or confide (Refer to Strong’s G1679 and 1680). It means to anticipate, usually with pleasure. In other Scripture, the word “trust” is frequently used as an English synonym. If you trust something, you have confidence in it. (Reference 2nd Corinthians 1:10, Romans 15:12, and 1st Timothy 4:10). This is a stark contrast to wishing for something.
Scripturally, faith is to wait with confident anticipation and trust in the object being relied upon.
Dear heart, depending on what information and emotions have been flooding your senses, this past couple of years may have been overwhelming, and perhaps even discouraging. Can I ask you to talk to yourself for a moment?
What are you looking forward to? How are these things going to come to pass? When do you expect its fruition? Who is responsible for making it happen?
- “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:5 from the New International Version).
- “You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?” (Psalm 56:8).
Our tears are so precious to the LORD that He remembers them. He remembers our pain, but He does not bring to recollection the memory repented sin. Wow! (Refer to Psalm 103:12 and Isaiah 43:25). The LORD preserved these verses because He wants us to know He is the One who always cares and can sustain us. He will bring about all that is best for us.
Look at what has not changed throughout thousands of years of documented history. God has remained entirely trustworthy because He is unchangeably perfect. He is faithful when we are faithless. And, He cares about the smallest detail, a single tear drop. Thank you LORD!
We have our ups and downs, yet we have the ability to direct our hope to something greater which inspires us to press on. Hope seems to be a matter of choice. That last verse from Psalm 42 was written around 1023 B.C.; the “faith and hope” letter called Hebrews around 63 to 68 A.D.; and, after approximately 2,000 years since the scribing of the New Testament Scriptures, humans are still navigating between attitudes of despair and hope. It is a part of the current human condition. Considering the last 3,000 years of human and societal development, we can see that any earthly inspired goals does not perpetually satisfy the human spirit because that which is not Divine is not qualified nor capable of achieving or giving unchanging satisfaction.
Even much-needed sabbaticals and breaks do not permanently satisfy; they merely provide time to regroup, and eventually, we are confronted with undesired emotions.
To say this more succinctly:
If the object of our hope is not Divine, then our hope will be fated to inherent imperfection and can not be satisfied.
Some might disagree and that would be their prerogative. I make this claim based on Scripture which is sufficient in itself; and, history just exemplifies it. Consider these thoughts:
- humanity’s social constructs or civilizations continue to rise and fall;
- individuals are born, learn, many reproduce, and physically die (those without the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence do so without achieving lasting inner peace and joy);
- human beings without hope fail to remain positive and are unable to progress forward. (After all, what’s the point?)
Let me explain through Scripture. Jesus said:
- “Therefore you now have sorrow, but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.” (John 16:22).
- “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:26 to 27).
- “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
Also, consider these Scriptures:
- “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12).
- ” My soul faints for Your salvation, but I hope in Your word.” (Psalm 119:81)
- “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” (Psalm 17:15).
- “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
What an amazing gift! Being justified by grace through faith, we have a peace that the world cannot have. If we permit the indwelling Holy Spirit to minister to us, we have the help we need to stop our hearts from being troubled and afraid. Plus, we have the promise of eternal joy without sorrow. This is the power to hope, to preserve, to overcome! Hallelujah!
Not only are we free from the penalty and power of sin, but here and now, we also have a choice in how we endure the turbulence of this world by allowing the Holy Spirit to teach us what we need to know in every situation. It is written:
- “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. … But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. … For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” (Romans 8 starting at verse 5).
In addition to this, even while we cry out to Abba Father in our human limitations, we know the One who is Sovereign is ensuring that everything falls into place according to prophecy. If you read Revelation, Ezekiel, Daniel, Thessalonians, and other prophetic books we can see the shadow of future events being cast before us. These shadows can help us understand what is happening. It is written:
- “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.” (Daniel 2:20 to 22).
- “Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one. They cry, “Let us break their chains and free ourselves from slavery to God.” But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then in anger He rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury.” (Psalm 2:1 to 5 from the New Living Translation).
- “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.” (1st Timothy 6:11 to 16).
Glory to God! Praise the LORD! We have a conquering Saviour! He triumphed over all powers!
Thank the LORD that He remains eternally good, loving, all-knowing, ever-present, all-powerful, just, righteous, and yearning for a relationship with His creation.
Because He is unchanging, there is hope.
Friends, with God all things are possible. If we could hear the testimonies of our brothers and sisters around the world, we would rise and shout about the righteous right hand of our LORD. We would join with David’s song of praise. He wrote:
- “The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall praise You, O LORD, And Your saints shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, and talk of Your power, To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of His kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.” (Psalm 145:9 to 13).
- “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” (Psalm 20:7)
You see, the enemy would want you to believe that you are alone or to place your trust in the earthly. Family of God, there are more for us than against us in Heaven. And, on earth the church of God in Christ Jesus is so numerous, we can’t imagine it. When people think they are alone, they often become timid. Not only do we have a large company of angels and humans who stand for Jesus Christ, our elder Brother is Divine, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
- “For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” (1st Corinthians 15:21 to 26).
- “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things…” (Hebrews 12:22 to 24).
- “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1 to 2).
- “As you, therefore, have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. … And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. … Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head… (verses from Colossians 2, starting at verse 6).
Dear dear heart, when we feel discouraged because of our failures, ailing bodies, worldly systems, or others, we need to remember who our Saviour is. Because of His victory, we have been given the right to become children of our heavenly Father.
- “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” (Hebrews 1:1 to 4).
- “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:24 to 28).
- “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14 to 16).
Our hope comes from the confidence we have in Jesus Christ’s sufficiency. Our hope rests in the fact that we can find mercy, grace, and strength in Him. We can come boldly before the throne knowing that the best outcome for us will be granted by our Father.
- the Lord said… “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness…” (2nd Corinthians 12:9).
- “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1st Corinthians 10:13).
- “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).
Over the past couple of years, people have had to examine their hearts and their faith. We have all had to ask ourselves questions at one point or another like:
- What do I believe in and to what extent? Am I confident that my faith and hope are rightly placed?
- Do I really fully trust the LORD with my earthly existence?
- Do I feel secure in my relationship with the LORD?
- Why are these things happening to me if I am standing on the promises in Scripture?
I think of Jesus Christ in the garden when He prayed about His upcoming suffering; when He was to bear the sin and shame of all of humanity; when for the first and last time in all of eternity the Father would turn His loving gaze away from Him.
Scripture says that God made the worlds through His Son (Psalm 33:6, John 1:3, and Revelation 4:11) and still Jesus Christ was to willingly submit Himself to the cruelty of His fallen creation for the higher purpose of love. Yes, this was for the love of His Father and the love of humanity.
- “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. … Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.” (1st Peter 4:12 to 13, and 19).
Should we hope that God will deliver us from trials? Absolutely!
Should we trust that God will give us the strength and endurance to submit to any suffering that He has permitted? Absolutely! Should we hope to escape the will of God? I pray never!
You see, I have come to understand that my Creator Saviour never wills evil but will use humanity’s evil choices (which He has foreseen) to accomplish a higher purpose. If His higher purpose includes some difficulty for me, I need to remember that while God allowed Jesus to endure the greatest of hardships, the Father had a redemption plan that included Christ’s resurrection, glorification, and inheritance. If this is God’s nature, then I can trust (or I can have Godly hope) that He has the same results in store for me. As it is written:
- “… the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God; His plan that was previously hidden, even though He made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1st Corinthians 2:7 to 9 from the New Living Translation)
You see friends, whatever happens in this life, our LORD’s grace is sufficient to strengthen us to endure and overcome. Our LORD’s triumph at the cross was a sufficient price for the sum of all of our sins. Our LORD’s priesthood of intercession is sufficient to grant us access to the throne of God. We hope because we have the best promises from a God who cannot lie.
- “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1st Peter 1:3).
- “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).
- “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” (Titus 2:13).
But if you find yourself in the middle of something where your soul needs relief, cry out to the LORD; He knows how you feel. He longs to comfort you until you reach your home, and if faithful, your inheritance.
- “Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me. The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me…” (Psalm 42:7 to 8).
When you cry out to Him, you are expressing your hope (or your trust) in Him; and, in return regardless of what your path might include, He will be present with you.
The Creator Saviour who calls each star by name will place songs of love and peace in your heart all the way home. If you have grown weary of hoping, allow the Father to send His message to you, as He did Christ in the garden (Refer to Luke 22:43; Psalms 91:11; and, Hebrews 2:17).
Are you willing to cling to hope? Are you willing to hear His song for you? Friends keep hoping! Do not let anyone or anything trick you into letting go of your hope! Psalms 147 says:
- “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. … The LORD lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground. … He covers the heavens with clouds, He prepares rain for the earth, He makes grass to grow on the mountains. He gives to the beast its food, and to the young ravens that cry. … The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy.”
Or you can review the 4 SIMPLE STEPS or concepts to help you ask the LORD to bring you into right standing with Him. The steps are designed to help you know why a prayer of repentance is necessary. There are no “specific words” to pray, but there is a process to coming to faith.
All Scripture in this blog is from the New King James Version unless otherwise specified.