Monday, May 22, 2017

No Hope?



A recent survey shows that many people feel hopeless. The news and the forecasts for the future are beginning to mock even the most optimistic, and they are losing hope for peace, goodness in the world, and well-being in their own lives. Hope is a motivator; hopelessness is not.  

In Bible college (I was already a grandmother at the time), one assignment was an essay to “describe biblical hope.” I drove 17 miles every day to school and parked behind one of the buildings. The campus cooks were famous for their excellent cinnamon buns so as I opened my car door each day, their fresh-baked aroma filled my lungs. I could not see them yet, but I knew they were waiting for me. As for the essay, I used the smell of those buns to illustrate the meaning of hope.

Hope is an anticipation of God’s goodness. Because I know God, and I know His love and care for me, I also know that everything He says is reliable. This includes all promises for the future . . .

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

This is not a hope-so belief but one solidly based on the character of God and my relationship with Him . . .

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:24)

Perhaps the reason for hopelessness is a declining belief in God and in His promises. Majorities say the Bible is not the Word of God, or is unreliable and full of mistakes. Without knowing what God declares or the hope that He promises, there is not much left to rely on, except that hope-so optimism that has no solid foundation. God’s promises are far better!

“Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law. When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort, O Lord. Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked, who forsake your law. Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning. I remember your name in the night, O Lord, and keep your law. This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept your precepts.” (Psalm 119:49–56)

I cannot take any credit for putting my hope in the Word of God or for being able to rely on Him. This is a work of His grace. Faith is a gift, a blessing from the Lord. He gives it because He takes pleasure in giving hope to those who trust Him:

“His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” (Psalm 147:10–11)

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Jesus, I am so blessed by You! Words cannot express my gratitude for the sweet aroma of fulfilled promises now and still to come. My heart rejoices that no matter what happens in this world, You have promised better things. Because You keep Your Word, I can rely on what You say — with great and delighted hope!


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