It’s growing. The number of people dead is increasing daily. There are thousands of people infected in multiple countries around the earth.
Everyone seems to be aware of this new epidemic. In a strange, eerie way it connects all of us as humans. We can be as careful as possible, but we are still susceptible.
Wuhan residents, quarantined in the place of the outbreak, are hunkering down in their flats, even shouting out from their windows “Jiayou,” literally meaning add oil, but figuratively encouraging others not to give up. To hope.
In Need of Hope
You may not get the coronavirus, but you are still in desperate need of hope. Maybe there is a different health challenge, financial reversal, broken relationship, or emotional challenge that plagues you. All of us need HOPE! We need to see that something better is coming, that there is a light at the end of this oppressive darkness. For some who have had a lifetime of shattered and tattered years, this life can’t be all there is. Wrongs need to be made right. Brokenness needs to be mended. Justice must be meted out.
We learn in counseling training that the first two goals when working with someone are for them to feel that 1) you really listened and 2) you gave them hope. That sets the stage for them to come back and talk more.
The Object of Hope
Biblical hope is defined as a confident expectation based on someone’s promise. It is not a whimsical “I hope so” wishing that a mystical fate called luck somehow blesses you by chance.
- We don’t hope in hope, thinking that our good imaginations of the future will create some positive energy that will make it all come true (Matt. 6:27). That’s above our pay-grade.
- We have to be careful even about hoping in each other. We fail each other; we come up short; we forget; we have good intentions; we lie. I can have only a guarded hope that someone will keep his or her word (Jer. 17:5).
- We dare not hope in uncertain riches, and yet many people work and live with their hope anchored in the shifting sands of riches (1 Tim. 6:17; Ps. 62:10; Prov. 23:4-5; Jer. 9:23).
Biblical hope is an anchor that grabs onto a rock and won’t let go (Heb. 6:19). Our Rock is the unchanging character of a Person and the promises He makes to people like me. A hopeful person can hang their full weight on Who they have anchored into just as a person who rappels rests their hope in the rock above them. Jehovah is a God who has a steadfast love for us and He keeps His Word. The Psalmist mentions this dozens of times:
“Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love.” Psalm 33:18
His track record of being worthy of our hope and trust is laid out in His Word.
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that … through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4
The Source of Hope
Smart hope is in God. It also comes from God; only He is able to produce sustaining hope in our darkest moments when all other lights have gone out. He is not just the Creator; He is my Creator (Ps. 139:13-16). He knows my days, has planned my ways (Prov. 16:9), and matched my rugged cross with grace.
The Alpha and the Omega is infinite Mind; He has never learned anything; the minutiae of my entire life is before His eyes at all times. His knowledge of my situation and His steadfast love give me hope; imagine if He slept or got confused or distracted periodically! But no. This God of hope is the sovereign micromanager of my trials (1 Cor. 10:13) and, through His Spirit, He can give me joy and peace in the middle of trouble.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
Th(i)nkful for Hope
I have seen it. A child who feels hopeless, suddenly is filled with hope. A situation that looks impossible, all of sudden opens up. When sin has pushed us down, and yelled in our ears that we will never be free, the Savior hears our desperate call and picks us up cleansing away unrighteousness.
- I am thankful that that hope does not depend on me.
- I am thankful that the source of hope loves me and has a detailed plan on how to get me out.
- I am thankful that even if it is the end of my earthly days, I will go to be with God forever and ever.
- I am thankful that He is using trials in my life to make me like Jesus.
- I am thankful that joy will come in the morning.
- I am thankful that the Source of hope doesn’t run dry or quit.
- Today I am thinking thanks for hope because without it I could not really be th(i)nkful.