Get Adobe Flash player

Hope – 2018-01-02

Each year, at the beginning of the year, I ask God for a promise to hold on to for the year. There are a lot of verses I love, but I know THE verse, when it resonates (def: produce or be filled with a deep, full, reverberating sound.)

One of the things my heart keeps coming back to is hope…
The big problem with “hope” is that it is crucial to know who and what to put your hope in… putting our hope in events, people, places, or things disappoints and crushes our spirit. After last year, hope is a REALLY hard word for me to wrap my heart and mind around.

It is funny (I shared this on the 1st), I have a lot of inspirational coffee cups… the one that I felt I needed to start the year with was “faith”… My fresh cup of faith, filled with my 1st cup of coffee for the year, rolled off the woodstove and spilled all over. It was quite a mess, but my faith cup didn’t chip or crack. Not sure how, considering it landed on the stone hearth. The verse on back says, “My faith and hope are in God.” I Peter 1:21

That word again… Hope

I thought about that several times. Let’s face it, I’m a visual person, and God often speaks to me in pictures. With the challenges we faced last year, my faith did not break, my hope is another story… that has been a hard area for me. Many hopes were dashed last year… I confess, I am resisting the hope verses… but when you ask God for focus, He often throws down a challenge along with the comfort, and hope is haunting me right now…

According to Webster’s, the verb hope is:
1 : to cherish a desire with anticipation : to want something to happen or be true hopes for a promotion hoping for the best I hope so.
transitive verb:
1 : to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment I hope she remembers. hopes to be invited
2 : to expect with confidence : trust Your mother is doing well, I hope

One of the verses that came to mind when I think about hope is:
But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. I Thessalonians 5:8
I understand protecting our heart with faith and love…
I understand the mind steadfastly fixed on salvation…
The Bible refers to the hope of salvation many times…

Is Biblical Hope the same as Webster’s hope?
In the Greek: “Hope=elpizo – with pleasure, with expectation, with confidence…”

expecting salvation, with confidence, with pleasure… the main difference I see between Webster and the Bible is that Webster talks about things like hoping for an invitation, hoping for a promotion… trusting someone is well. Those aren’t things I can build my hope on. Fulfillment of these hopes is inconsistent, because people’s moods and whims can be inconsistent and circumstances are often unpredictable. My mind can wrap around Biblical hope… the hope of Heaven I can get excited about… it is based on Jesus’ consistent, steadfast love, and He already knows the circumstances which will occur. Jesus KNOWS the outcome, it is written in His book once we accept His salvation.

Like someone on a long journey (I visualize the PCT – 2600 miles of challenge) We eagerly wait – hope for the finish. We often receive postcards from hikers who have finished – they pose in front of the monument and send out cards celebrating their accomplishment. I often view funerals in this way – this often is the celebration, the postcard, celebrating completion of the journey – a life well-lived. They reached the goal – we are not living the goal, we are journeying toward the goal.

I think of Romans 8:23-25
23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 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? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Romans 8:23-25

I remember going out on the boat when our children were young. We were on the shore when a storm came up. Our boat started pulling against the anchor, it was not securely anchored due to the silty bottom, and the winds rocked the boat loose until it started drifting. I want my hope in an anchor that will hold fast in the storm. Hope in Jesus is an anchor… not one that weighs us down, but an anchor which holds us fast in the storm; not an anchor dragging the dredge of this earth, but an anchor held fast to a rock, an anchor that holds secure in the storm. So often it seems when my hope is poorly placed, it fails, it does not hold and I end up swimming against the waves to try to regain a drifting boat.

“That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil” Hebrews 6:18-19

Hope – a four letter word, a small word, but so big and sometimes so hard to hang on to. Hope is in the Bible 151 times, it is not a word to neglect, but it is so much more than a word, it is a treasure to place well lest we lose it.
Hope is strong enough to carry us through the storm, but fragile enough to be crushed when not well-placed;
Hope… my faithful companion… sometimes I lose sight of you, but you are always there when I seek you;
Hope… I have no hope of and in myself, but I have a great Hope In Christ, and beyond myself and my circumstances;
Hope… is a daily choice to continue towards the Great Hope fulfilled in Heaven;
Hope… is a light in a dark world that draws others to the path that leads to Heaven;
Hope… is the rhythm of my heart, the cadence that determines my steps;
Hope… is Christ, who carries me.
Hope: In ancient Hebrew=yachal – to hope, be patient, wait…
Hope is a destination – Heaven, but Hope is also a journey, a way of living…

3 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, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen[a] you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls. I Peter 1

But I will hope continually,
And will praise You yet more and more.
My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness
And Your salvation all the day,
For I do not know their limits. Psalm 71

Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints!
For the Lord preserves the faithful,
And fully repays the proud person.
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24