While writing about the subject of hope, there is the potential to quote cliché after cliché and seem extremely trite. There are so many quotes and old sayings about hope and a better tomorrow, that they become overused and glossed over. Which is a shame because some of them can offer light in the darkest of seasons and situations. They are common because they fit many circumstances in which there needs to be encouragement infused into it. When people are in the midst of pain or frustration or desperation, people will say things like “look for the silver lining” or “tomorrow will be better” or “one day at a time.” Now, these are completely true and have the potential to bring comfort, but sometimes they are dismissed by those who receive them. We have heard and said them so many times, we don’t think about the truth they hold. These sayings are straightforward and simple, and that seems too easy to us.
Sadly, I think the same thing can apply to scriptures that speak about hope. We hear those oft-quoted truths and promises and they just float right through our heads. We may even have them memorized, but don’t actually think about them and what they mean for us. When these familiar truths are spoken over us or we see them in written form, we skim them over. I do this all the time. I know about all these promises that God gives us in His word, but I choose to keep them at arms length like they are some sort of shallow strings of words that someone put together. This is dangerous. Above all, we must not forget that all of God’s word is His holy Word. Just because a verse or chapter is well-known, doesn’t mean that it is any less divinely inspired and Holy Spirit breathed. They become well known because they do speak so perfectly to situations we all face.
It comes down to this- we either choose to believe God’s Word or not.
Everyone has those things that make them feel hopeless or have experienced something that seems to force hopelessness upon them. There will always be those relationships with the same recurring problems that make you feel swallowed up somewhere where you will never get out. There will always be that illness that must be endured. Some type of obstacle that never shifts even the slightest bit in order for you to catch a glimpse around it. People live with pains that they take to their grave. People are tortured and tormented every day all around the world. People experience extreme losses. This world can leave us in this state of hope·less·ness- having no hope, despairing, bleak, incurable, having no possibility of a solution, impossible.
In a broken world with broken people, it’s a given. There will be hard. There will be hopeless. There will be things that span from a little disheartening or uncomfortable to gut-wrenching, turn-your-life-upside-down devastation. It will happen. Even those who appear to lead a charmed life will have struggles in some form or another.
So this concept of hope… as a follower of Jesus, what it comes down to is I can hold onto God’s promises or dismiss and ignore them. I can keep them at a distance like they are some old traditions and sayings that I can memorize and pass along at times or I can bury them deep in my heart and cling to them with all I have because they are all that will sustain me in this broken world filled with things that can make me hopeless, confused, and doubting. I know that the hope that is found in Jesus does and will continue to beckon, redeem, heal, save, and sanctify. He answers all questions and brings hope to any and every heart and circumstance. This cannot be said about anyone or anything else.
The Bible is, literally, filled with hope…literally, the whole thing is a story of hope and victory and redemption. A quick search for the word h-o-p-e will yield pages of results. I want to point out just three of them in hopes that we can really think about them and take them for what they are- life saving, renewing, truths that the Holy God of the universe gives us to sustain us.
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1 ESV (emphasis mine)
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him. Lam. 3:22 ESV (emphasis mine)
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. Rom. 15:13 ESV (emphasis mine)
The hope of Jesus covers all things. Everything. Everywhere. If you are in need of hope right now, and hear or read something familiar, take a minute to soak it in; don’t immediately let it go without pondering it a little because sometimes the familiar and simple are exactly what is needed if we allow it to be. So often, I forget that the answer to my feelings of hopelessness are always, simply Jesus.