Hope . . . is where stories begin!
A sweet friend gave me a plaque for my birthday last year that said this, “hope . . . is where stories begin.” The more I look at it and think about it, the more true it becomes to me. Not too long ago I had a friend tell me that she just had no hope that her situation would change. My heart just broke for her. When we have lost hope that God can change us and our situation, we have lost faith. The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God. If we can’t please God, I am pretty sure we won’t be pleased with ourselves. Why? It is in pleasing God we are most satisfied with ourselves.
Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines hope as “confident expectancy. In the Bible, the word “hope” stands for both the act of hoping (Rom. 4:18; 1 Cor. 9:10) and the thing hoped for (Col. 1:5; 1 Pet. 1:3). Hope does not arise from the individual’s desires or wishes but from God, who is Himself the believer’s hope: “My hope is in You” (Ps. 39:7). Genuine hope is not wishful thinking, but a firm assurance about things that are unseen and still in the future (Rom. 8:24–25; Heb. 11:1, 7).
Hope distinguishes the Christian from the unbeliever, who has no hope (Eph. 2:12; 1 Thess. 4:13). Indeed, a Christian is one in whom hope resides (1 Pet. 3:15; 1 John 3:3). In contrast to Old Testament hope, the Christian hope is superior (Heb. 7:19).
Christian hope comes from God (Rom. 15:13) and especially His calling (Eph. 1:18; 4:4), His grace (2 Thess. 2:16), His Word (Rom. 15:4) and His gospel (Col. 1:23). Hope is directed toward God (Acts 24:15; 1 Pet. 1:21) and Christ (1 Thess. 1:3; 1 Tim. 1:1). Its appropriate objects are eternal life (Titus 1:2; 3:7), salvation (1 Thess. 5:8), righteousness (Gal. 5:5), the glory of God (Rom. 5:2; Col. 1:27), the appearing of Christ (Titus 2:13) and the resurrection from the dead (Acts 23:6; 26:6–7).”
One of the greatest gifts God gave me when we lost Jake was hope. Walking through the death of a child gave me so much hope in JESUS that we could walk through anything. I can honestly look back at my life and say that there is not one thing that Jesus hasn’t walked me through. I am so saddened by my friend that she had no hope in God that He could change her or change her situation. I went to sleep last night praising God that I could honestly say there has not been a time in my life when I couldn’t hope in Him.
When I was in 6th grade my youth leader made me learn Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans for a hope and a future.” I can’t tell you how many times I have had to repeat that to myself over and over again. To remind myself what His plans were for me when they didn’t feel so great. Most of our battles our fought in our heads so we must learn the scripture we need to combat our thoughts and feelings. Yes, there are times I have felt no hope but I knew that He was my HOPE.
I Peter 1:13 ” Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” When Jesus is revealed and we can see all the He is doing, working in and through us, we will rejoice. Until then we must trust that He is working for us and not against us.
Brad and I were watching Evan Almighty the other night and my favorite part of the movie is when his wife is about to leave him and he sees water hitting the window and he thinks the rain is starting to come. He runs outside only to see that it is just the sprinklers. His wife and kids get in the car and leave him standing in the driveway. He looks up towards heaven and says, “I know, it’s because you love me” and then the sprinkler hits him right in face. He says, “can you love me a little less?” How often do I feel like that. I am hoping and waiting on God to show up – to reveal himself and I get excited and think this is it and it turns out not to be. It is like a sprinkler in your face. Finally the flood does come and God does reveal Himself, just not in our timing.
What do we do in the meantime? We wait (stinks, I know). Isaiah 40:28-31 “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is an everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the Earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; BUT THEY THAT 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.”
Finally, Habakkuk 2:3 says this “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger ( or seems slow to us), WAIT FOR IT, it will certainly come and will not delay.” The word for wait here is a commanding verb, meaning it is an action – we are to wait, to “lie in wait” like a soldier who waits for his enemy to come to pounce on him – an ambush. We “lie in wait” with confident expectancy that God is going to show up and do His thing!