Charles Swindoll relates that he read the book called Adrift. It’s a story of a man who built a vessel that was to sail him through the whole of the Atlantic, sort of a large loop. He hit bad weather and his vessel went down. He existed on a raft for almost eighty days. The thing that kept the man alive was hope. His lowest days were the days when he could see no hope and he could not see the possibility of being rescued or making it to the islands or coming into the shipping lanes and being found by one of those vast vessels on its way on the trade routes. His hope kept him alive.
Someone has said, “We can live forty days without food, eight days without water, four minutes without air, but only a few seconds without hope.”
What Hope Isn’t
Hope is not “I hope my team wins the Super Bowl” or “I hope I get a raise.” Biblical hope is not a hope-so but it is a know-so. It isn’t wishing for the best. It isn’t waiting to see what happens and hope that it turns out well. If someone says to you that “I hope you have a good day,” there is no guarantee that the day will go well. That is not hope…that is wishful thinking and it is utterly undependable and has no power to bring anything to pass. Human hope pales in comparison to biblical hope, as we shall read. (Wellman)
Hope is not a feeling or an emotion. Hope is the knowledge of facts.
A Christian’s Definition of Hope
Holman Bible Dictionary defines Christian Hope as “Trustful expectation, particularly with reference to the fulfillment of God’s promises. Biblical hope is the anticipation of a favorable outcome under God’s guidance. More specifically, hope is the confidence that what God has done for us in the past guarantees our participation in what God will do in the future.”
Romans 5:2 (ESV) Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 15:13 (NLT)I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The good news today is that we do not have to live without hope because we serve God who gives us a living hope!
Three things about God that give hope great power!
1. God’s Grace is Sufficient For Every Need
2 Corinthians 9:8 (CSB) And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.
If you have wondered if you can see your way through this pandemic, take heart.
God will give you the strength…the grace … to enable you to make it. Don’t let anxiety or fear overwhelm you. Turn your heart to God.
Too many times we seek to find hope in places where we can’t find it.
-We can’t find hope in food, sex, or substance abuse
-We can’t find hope in harming our selves or thinking about suicide
-We can’t find hope in putting down others or expressing outrage online
We can only find hope in God, who can make hope overflow in our hearts.
This verse ends with the idea that because of God’s grace we are able to excel in every good work – turning our focus from our own struggles to the joy of helping others. God’ grace is sufficient to help us …and
2. God is able to do more than we ask or imagine!
Ephesians 3:20 (NIV) Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.
We can imagine a lot! But nothing you can imagine about what God is able to do even comes close. This is why we can place our hope in Him. We Trust His Promises. Old Gospel Song: When I can read my title clear, To mansions in the skies, I bid farewell to every fear, And wipe my weeping eyes. Disability, disease, sorrow, regret, addiction will all be swept away and overtaken because God will come and save you.
Psalm 146:5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.
3. God is Always Faithful
Psalm 36:7 (NLT) How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.
Just a few months before Nazis executed Deitrich Bonhoeffer, in a poem from prison he writes, “Who am i?” Despite all of his efforts to live faithfully he wondered if he was a hypocrite or a weakling. Bonhoeffer points to Christ for hope. “Whoever I am, thou knowest, O God, I am thine.” If you have ever questioned God’s timing, God’s will, God’s ways, you are not alone. Nor are you in the wrong. What kinds of things have you thought about that caused you to lose hope?
-I can’t take it anymore!
-I haven’t got what it takes!
-Nobody cares about me!
-Just too much has gone wrong
-You can’t beat the system
-What’s the use of trying
Hebrews 10:35,36 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! 36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.
We have hope in God because he gives us what we need to see it through, he offers more than we can imagine, and he never fails to be faithful to His promises.
Put All of Your Hope in God
1. It will anchor your soul. Hebrews 6:19 (NIV) “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” If you are like me, you’ve struggled with finding new pathways in this life with coronavirus. It can really feel like we are a boat out at sea without direction. But hope is an anchor for the soul – it gives us a firm and secure place from which to live for God. Whenever we feel helpless, hopeless … remember that our lives are anchored to the love and faithfulness of God.
2. It will settle our deepest longings. Psalm 42:1-6a “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. … Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and 6 my God!” We all have both physical and emotional struggles in this pandemic. Our greatest need is to belong to a Father who loves us and cares for us. Our deepest longings of acceptance, care, love – are all met in the presence and strength of God. When we put our hope in God, we can praise him again – we can remember how much He has done for us.
3. It will bring us joy. Psalm 146:3-10 “Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them. But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever. … The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down. … The Lord will reign forever. …Praise the Lord!”
When we have put all of our hope in God, we can experience joy even in distressful situations. The joy we have in God is not affected by our circumstances because He is there all along to offer joy and strength for our times of weakness and worry.
This is a prayer that a daughter found among her recently deceased father’s things:
I cannot pray, dear Lord. I cannot find the hopes, recovery, health and peace of mind. And yet, although you suffered more than I, this does not help, not matter how I try. So take my hand, and take my feeble frame, and give me strength, and help me bear my pain. And though my future plans may bgo astray, in all my fears be near; show me the way. I am so weak; give me the strength. I need to know that with Your help, we will succeed. So help me in these long and tiring days to know that someone sings a song of praise; the friends who care, who pray instead of me for healing, and a quick recovery. So, take my hand, and let me cling to Thee, and, clinging, know no harm can come to me. Amen.Christopher News Notes
Three Powerful Things Hope in God Can Do For You
1. Hope will give you the power to see it through.
1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV) We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Hope will give you assurance.
1 Peter 1:3 (NIV) 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…
3. Hope will offer evidence of God’s presence.
Romans 15:13 (NIV) 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.
Has God filled you with hope in this season of hopelessness? Pray and ask Him to do that today. Look closely at his Word and spend time with the Lord in prayer and He will fill your heart with the hope that comes through the Holy Spirit.
G. F. Watts has a famous painting entitled Hope. It pictures a poor woman against the world. Her eyes are bandaged so that she cannot see ahead. in her hands is a harp, but all the strings are broken save one. Those broken strings represent the shattered expectations, her bitter disappointments. That one last unbroken string is the string of hope. She strikes that string and a glorious melody floats out over the world; it fills her dark skies with stars. The artist painted a great truth: Even when all else is gone, you still can have hope.
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
James Keller, founder of The Christophers, wrote this about Hope:
Hope looks for the good in people instead of harping on the worst.
Hope opens doors where despair closes them.
Hope discovers what can be done instead of grumbling about what cannot.
Hope draws its power from a deep trust in God and the basic goodness of human nature.
Hope “lights a candle” instead of “cursing the darkness.”
Hope regards problems, small or large, as opportunities.
Hope cherishes no illusions, nor does it yield to cynicism.
Hope sets big goals and is not frustrated by repeated difficulties or setbacks.
Hope pushes ahead when it would be easy to quit.
Hope puts up with modest gains, realizing that “the longest journey starts with one steo.”
Hope accepts misunderstandings as the price for serving the greater good of others.
Hope is a good loser because it has the divine assurance of final victory.
“In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)
Holman Bible Dictionary: Hope
Christopher News Notes no. 352 Hold on to Hope
Swindoll, Charles R. Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations and Quotes. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1998.