“O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.”Psalm 130:7
Hope is often discussed, yet just as often underappreciated.
We preach it and sing about it. But we don’t usually realize it’s power and our need for it when times are good.
Comfort tends to numb us to both our need for hope and to the hope available to us in Christ. As Jesus told his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 19:23) Why hope for something better when we think we have it so good now?
But for many, this year has revealed a need for hope unlike any in recent memory. The effects of this prolonged pandemic have many asking, when will this end? When we start asking that question, we begin to catch a glimpse of why we need hope.
What produces the hope we so desperately need?
What Produces Hope?
Our world equates hope with a wish. When we say we hope something will happen, we’re saying we wish an uncertain thing would happen but we know there’s no guarantee. “I hope the Vikings win the Super Bowl” really means “I wish the Vikings would win the Super Bowl, but I really have no way of knowing if it will ever happen or not.”
Hope in the Bible is different. Biblical hope points us to something certain that just hasn’t happened yet. It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when. That’s the kind of hope God wants to produce in us.
Since he is the God of hope, God himself is the ultimate source of our hope (Romans 15:13). Our hope in the face of prolonged suffering is built on the certainty of God’s promise to redeem this world and dwell with his people for eternity. While we wait for that culmination of redemptive history, God also promises that he has a purpose for our pain and that nothing will ever separate his people from the great love he has shown us in Christ.
Through his great and precious promises, what about who he is fosters hope within us? What does he use to build and strengthen hope within us?
Here are some things the Bible teaches us that God uses to build hope in his people:
God’s Steadfast Love, His Never-ending Mercies, and His Great Faithfulness
“But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21-23)
“Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love.” (Psalm 33:18)
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)
Believing God by the Power of the Holy Spirit
“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)
The Name of Jesus
“In his name the Gentiles will hope.” (Matthew 12:21)
Suffering in Christ
“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” (Romans 5:3-4)
What Hope Produces
If God uses those things to produce hope in us, what does hope itself produce?
Here are four things the Bible points us to that are a result of having hope:
“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” (2 Corinthians 3:12)
“We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:2)
“But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise you yet more and more.” (Psalm 71:14
“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:25)
“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.” (Hebrews 6:19)
The Thrill of Hope
Living without hope leads to people who are fearful and who complain and despair about their circumstances because they have no confidence in God’s goodness or faithfulness to keep his promises.
But hope produces bold, praise-filled Christians who patiently endure trials because they are sure of God’s goodness and faithfulness to keep his promises.
This is why it’s such a thrill to see a hopeless life find hope.
Who can you share your hope in Christ with today?