We are all quick to use the word hope so flippantly.
“I hope today goes better than yesterday.”
“I hope I get ______ for Christmas.”
“I hope you don’t fall.”
“He hopes to get that job.”
“I hope you have a good time.”
“I hope we win the game.”
We have replaced words like desire or would like or wish with a word of so much deeper meaning. It has so cheapened the word hope that we have a difficult time understanding what the Bible means when is uses the word. Hope, true hope, is so much more than just a wishing for something to be true. Hope is trusting, having full faith of something that is promised in the future.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. (Romans 8:18-25)
The Bible tells us that, as Christians, we have hope in adoption as children of God (1 John 3:1-2), we have an inheritance to look forward to (Ephesians 1:11), and we have eternity of peace and joy awaiting us (Matthew 25:46). When life gets tough here, we seen in the Bible that this life is not forever. It is fading. It is but a wisp of smoke in the wind compared to eternity. We have so much more to look forward to. We have a true hope in that.
Life is very tough. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like we will ever feel happy again. We may even desire for our lives to end. As Christians, however, we must continuously turn our eyes back to our Savior and the hope of our eternity which our faithful Lord has promised us. This doesn’t mean that we don’t grieve in the present (Romans 12:15). It doesn’t mean we ignore our suffering in this life. We are not to skip though life pretending everything is okay. It is okay to mourn (Matthew 5:4). It is okay to desire that our circumstances improve. But we should always remember our hope is not in how we feel or our comfort in this life but in our eternal future.
Jesus our Blessed Hope
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:11-14)
Jesus is our “Blessed Hope.” Without His coming to earth, without His willingness to lay down His life for the elect, without His resurrection, without His ascension, without His promise to return, we would have no hope. As Christians, our entire hope of the future is carried in His pierced flesh. His sacrifice made a way for us sinners to be atoned, redeemed, sanctified, and, one day, glorified for all eternity. Without Christ, we would have no foundation for hope.
As the wonderful hymn, “My Hope is Built,” says: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;”
Our Map of Hope
Imagine walking though a dark forest. The terrain is difficult, you are alone, the darkness and trees feel as though they are closing in on you, and the noises around you give you the impression you are being followed by thieves. You are frightened, you want to run, you feel as though you are about to panic, you see no escape.
Then you remember, you have a map. You pull it out and look at it. You see the forest you are within. You see the road you are traveling on. But then you see where the road leads. Soon the road will exit the forest and open to a beautiful and fertile land. The best part, though, is where the road ends. This difficult path will finally lead to a majestic castle, to a throne room full of splendor, and into the presence of the Prince of Peace.
Suddenly the forest doesn’t seem so dark, it doesn’t seem so frightening. You have a renewed spirit. You look so forward to your final destination that joy, peace, and hope have flooded your soul. The road isn’t any easier, but with every difficult step, you are that much closer to your Master.
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
We also have a map. God has provided us with His perfect Word to give us hope. Hope in salvation, hope in sanctification, hope in our eternity.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)
If you are in need of hope, turn to God’s Word and pray. If you need help praying for hope, here is a beautiful prayer written by Ligon Duncan. It would probably do us all good to pray this prayer often.
Scripture Writing Process for Hope
In July, we will looking at verses that talk about hope. These verses should teach us to find our hope in Christ and our promised eternity.
Read the passage provided each day. If the passage is long, feel free to choose one or two verses to write out and dig deeper into.
Use these questions to help guide you in your daily study:
- What does this passage say?
- What does this passage mean?
- What does this passage tell me about God’s character?
- How does viewing God in this way change the way I view myself?
- How should I respond to this truth?
You do not have to answer every one of these questions every day. Rather, use them as a guide to really dig into what the passage says so that you can properly interpret and apply God’s Word to your life. If you need additional help in mining the Word of God, please read this article on How to Study the Bible that goes into more depth on the inductive Bible study method we use in answering the above questions.
Finish your time in the Word by writing out a prayer thanking God for this teaching and asking Him to help you apply it to your life today.
If you would like to join us as we study praise, you can download a free copy of the July Scripture Writing Plan by subscribing to the A Narrow-Minded Woman Newsletter using the form below. After you confirm your subscription, I will send you the link to the download library. There you may download this Scripture writing plan along with several other free downloads I offer.
We would also love to have you join us in the Scripture Writing Facebook group where we fellowship, challenge, and encourage one another as we grow in God’s Word.