To abide in hope is not just saying I wish. It’s more than desiring something to come to pass, looking forward to an event or being in a person’s presence. Hope is defined by Webster as “to cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen or be true 2: to expect with confidence: TRUST.”
Hope is more than mere wishful thinking, yet hopelessness can bring on despair, depression and even thoughts of suicide.
Hope is more than mere wishful thinking
Proverbs 13:12 reminds us, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” No wonder the Bible approaches hopelessness in a different category from guilt and anxiety or even depression and suicide. Instead of categorizing hopelessness (also known as despair) as a psychological disease, the Bible calls it disobedience. It is refusing to trust God.
Hopefulness is a choice to trust God during impossible circumstances. It is relying on the unchanging attribute of God’s faithfulness. Psalm 37:3 remind us, “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” When we find pleasure in God, we give Him first place, submit to His plans, and are directed by His hand.
Did you know that over 23 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, 17.5 million struggle with clinical depression, 530,000 attempt suicide, others endure daily feelings of fear and hopelessness?[i] Airline passengers worry about flight safety, patients agonize over the dangers of surgery or deadliness of their conditions, businesspeople fret because of corporate decisions, collegians shudder at the uncertain future of their careers. More than 62 percent of Christians in America are worried about the future and 20 percent are searching for meaning and purpose in life.
Many of us have tried but have found futility in buying more possessions, expecting success to satisfy, achievements to give us accolades, or people to assure us of our purpose. Thankfully, we don’t have to make hope happen for ourselves. The Bible assures us there is real hope. Heb. 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Romans 8:24 adds, “hope that is seen is no hope at all.” When we put these two verses together, we see that hope refers to the promises of God, even when the fulfillment of these promises is still in the future and unseen. When we hope in God, we fix our eyes on His promises, rather than on personal circumstances. A Christ-centered hope is a firm foundation for the believer.
The choice is ours – we can gain control over what we think about. We can choose God’s truth, allow God’s Word to renew our minds, and remember God wants to heal us by the power of His Word. If we make the decision to start the process, God will help us take the next steps. With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can be transformed by the renewing of our mind.
Hard times come and hard times go, but God’s promises are forever.
Hard times come and hard times go, but God’s promises are forever. Stand up against the lies you have believed about yourself or your circumstances. Start telling yourself the truth. It helps to declare God’s Word aloud. This is no magic incantation; I call this practice a “truth tool” for you (and I) to use to find hope when you’ve lost your mind.
Psalm 56:3 “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?”
Psalm 62:8 “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”
And then we can easily put into practice what Psalm 37:4 says, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and he will do this.” He is our refuge, our joy, our deliverer, our help, our strength, and our comfort. Abiding in hope is confident expectation for God’s provision. And that, my friend, is worth the wait.
Let’s pray, “Father, Thank You, You send hope when we wait on You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen”
“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