Duane Vander Klok
What does the word “hope” mean to you?
People often confuse “hope” with wishing or dreaming, but Biblical hope is much more powerful than a wish or a dream. When God uses the word “hope,” He is talking about something certain, something you can count on.
Hope is an Anchor
You don’t have to be in a boat very long to realize that you cannot stay in one place without throwing out the anchor. Even on a calm day, you’ll drift. Like a boat without an anchor, the human soul also has a natural tendency to drift.
When Hebrews 6:19 tells us: “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…” God is giving us a picture of His unchangeable nature and the certainty of His promises. When your hope is not in God, your soul is easily tossed to and fro by the storms of life. But when you are anchored by God and His Word, your mind, will, and emotions can find a place of stability even in the worst of situations.
Because God loves you so much, He doesn’t want you to struggle through the storms of life tormented by fear and anxiety. Instead, He wants you to be anchored by Him and alive with the hope only He can give.
A Living Hope
Your life as a follower of Jesus Christ should be marked by expectant hope – a sense of anticipation. Peter called it a “living hope” when he wrote, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). Because you know that Jesus was raised from the dead, you know that God can do anything!
This living hope is what gives you the confidence that God is good and that He’ll be good to you. As your hope comes alive, you can look at the future expecting God’s promises to come to pass in your life because God is faithful.
Hope in God
There is no limit to the places you can put your hope, but from God’s perspective, only one place will do. 1 Timothy 6:17 says, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
Some people put their hope in their wealth and possessions, relationships, titles or abilities. While these things may offer temporary feelings of wellbeing, they can never provide the quality of life most people are really longing for. Money and things can be lost or stolen, people can fail, position and status can change, but God and His Word are unchangeable.
Abraham was one of many whose hope was in the right place. In Romans 4:18, we’re told, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations.” When there was no earthly, natural hope for Abraham and Sarah to have a child, Abraham grabbed hold of supernatural hope – a hope based on what God alone could do.
God’s promise to you is clear. In Isaiah 49:23, He says: “Those who hope in Me will not be disappointed.” You will have a good, satisfying life when your hope is in God. If you put your hope anywhere else, you will most certainly experience a life filled with disappointment.
HOPEFUL vs. Hopeless
King David was another person who had many opportunities to become hopeless. Over and over again, people tried to ruin his reputation and steal his throne; but despite the pressure, he chose to trust in a faithful God. Even in the most difficult times, he could say, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13 NAS).
Did you notice that David wasn’t looking for God’s goodness only in the next life? He believed He would see good things “in the land of the living.” He chose to hope in God instead of his ability to help himself – and so can you.
If you are going through a difficult time, choose to put your trust in God and His promises. As you do, your hopefulness will grow. Here are some things you should know about being hopeful vs. being hopeless:
HOPEFUL looks at circumstances knowing that God is faithful and that He will see you through; hopeless decides how faithful God is based on how good or bad the circumstances seem.
HOPEFUL assumes God is for you; hopeless fears God will turn against you.
HOPEFUL believes God is working to bring about His highest good because He loves you; hopeless imagines that God has stopped caring and that things aren’t going to get any better.
God’s Plan for You
God definitely loves you and has a plan for your good. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
You see, hope is not just a wish or a desire for things to turn out well. It is an expression of confidence in the God who loves you and knows everything about your past, your present, and your future. When your heart is convinced that He is for you and not against you, you can face the unknowns of the future with a positive expectation of good.
Like King David, you can grab hold of hope and believe that, even though things may be rough right now, they are going to get better.
Seeing God’s Goodness
Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for.” That’s the kind of faith Jesus demonstrated. Hebrews 12:2-3 says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Jesus had faith despite the circumstances because His hope was in His Father’s promises. He didn’t look at the cross; He looked beyond it to the promise.
You can live a victorious, hope-filled life by looking past your situation to see the goodness of God as revealed in His promises to you. When you remember that His plan is “to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future,” you, like King David, can boldly say, “I would have despaired UNLESS I HAD BELIEVED that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!”
If the doctor says, “There’s no hope,” you can respond saying: “I would have despaired, but I won’t because I believe I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!”
If you find out your child is on drugs, or you lose your job, or your spouse threatens to leave, you can boldly say, “I would have despaired, but I won’t because I believe I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!”
Remember Your Anchor
You can live without many things, but without hope, life seems dark and cold. If you are in a storm right now, let Biblical hope anchor your mind, will and emotions in the safety of God’s harbor! No place is more secure. Fill yourself up with His Word and keep your focus on Him. Look beyond the circumstances to see God’s promises to you.
Paul, in his letter to the Romans, wrote, “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” (Romans 15:13).
This is actually a prayer you can pray if you are feeling low on hope. You can simply pray, “Father, thank you for being the God of hope. I’m putting my trust in You and in Your Word. I ask in Jesus’ name, that you fill me to overflowing with hope, joy and peace by the power of Your Spirit. Amen.”
(All scriptures are from the New International Version of the Bible unless otherwise stated.)