BY CHRISTIE ROBERTS
“My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” What an amazing thought! Every time we sing this song in worship, I am awed by the power and promise those few words hold. Because Jesus was betrayed, because He was beaten, because He was crucified, because He was perfect…I have hope. Hope of salvation, hope of eternity in Heaven. Without Jesus, there would be no hope.
What, exactly, is hope? The secular definition is akin to a wish. “I hope we have pizza for supper.” Or “I hope I pass all my classes.” The Biblical definition, however, is much more powerful. According to the Wiley Online Library, hope is “the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness.” I love everything about this definition (which is why I wanted to quote it word-for-word). As Christians, we have a confident expectation that we will receive everything God has promised. We have hope that God will see us through all the trials and heartaches we face in this life, and that we will spend eternity with Him in Heaven. And we know that our hope will one day be fulfilled because God is faithful-He keeps His promises and that strengthens our hope.
There are horrible things that we face in this every day, worldly life. Homes burn, loved ones pass away, people get sick. We face both physical and mental trials on a daily basis. Depression is at an all-time high and something almost every person will struggle with at least once in their lifetime. But through it all, sisters, we can know that God is beside us, helping us through. I don’t know about you, but I need a daily reminder of this. When I remember to focus on this fact, it gives me a sense of peace; it calms my soul.
All that happens to us in this life, is only temporary. Our Ladies’ Bible Class teacher used a great illustration one week. She took a very long rope and ran it out the door. The last three inches of the rope were painted red. The rope represented eternity, and the red was our lifetime on earth. By comparison, it was obvious that what time we are blessed with here is only one small drop in the grand scheme of eternity. Her point was to remind us that our focus always needs to be on where we want to spend eternity, but it also serves to help us remember that the bad things are only temporary. In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Paul tells us “So do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” This life, the good and bad, is only temporary.
I, personally, have dealt with sick children, personal illness, depression…too many things to list. Several years ago I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease. The doctor told us that it typically had a 90% fatality rate within the first year. I remember lying in the ER room sobbing, telling my sister I was going to die before I had a chance to get married and have a family. In those first few hours after hearing my diagnosis, I had absolutely no hope. That is by far the worst I have ever felt in my life. I am ashamed that I lost my faith and hope, but I am beyond grateful that God saw me through. Now I am in remission and have an amazing family! I will never forget how horrible it was to have no hope, no faith.
It is easy to get bogged down in the negatives and forget that God has given us hope. It is human nature to be so engrossed in what we are facing at the time that we forget the hope God has given us. Isaiah 40:30-31 says “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 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.” If we remain faithful and steadfast, He will provide us the strength we need.
Similarly, I Peter 5:10 tells us “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” As Christians, we receive many blessing from our Father, but I believe hope is one of the most powerful. True Biblical hope can see us through anything. It helps us remember to lean on God and get our strength from Him. My prayer is that I will start doing a better job of focusing on that fact rather than the bad things that I face.
Bad things happen. Horrible tragedies devastate people each and every day. I have often wondered how people who are not Christians do it. How do they live this life without completely falling apart? But when I stop and really think about the amazing hope we have through Christ, I really have trouble understanding. The hope we have provides us strength, gives us courage, and sees us through the darkest times of our lives. I cannot fathom trying to live every day in this world without the hope God has given and the peace it brings.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” ~Romans 15:13
This article was first published in Come Fill Your Cup (http://comefillyourcup.com/2019/12/17/the-god-of hope/) on 17 December 2019
About the writer: Christie and her husband Billy live in Ringling, OK with their three precious children. Christie has a B.A. in English, but is blessed to be able to stay home to care for her family. They worship with the Lone Grove church of Christ where Billy serves as a deacon. Christie enjoys writing and helping with various Bible classes as well as any other opportunities God provides.