As you think about life, are you hopeful or hopeless? Your answer will be determined, in part, by where you are placing your hope.
Sometimes we place our hope in things that change. When they are going well, we are hopeful, but when they take a downturn, so does our hope. For example, if we hope in financial investments for our security, each time the stock market dips we will doubt our future. But when our hope is placed in the unchanging, it remains steady when circumstances shift. We have hope that a new day will dawn because it always has; the darkest nights have always given way to daylight and we are confident that will continue to happen.
During this uncertain time, where can we place our hope that is secure? The Bible offers an answer:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13, NIV)
Far more life is built on an active relationship with the God of hope. Do you think of Him as the God of hope? When I hear that phrase, I am reminded of His character, both what I have read in the Bible and what I have experienced:
God keeps His word. The Bible is filled with promises, some already fulfilled and some yet to be fulfilled. Since God has faithfully kept His promises we can have confidence that He will continue to do so. Keeping His word confirms He is the God of hope.
God’s plan prevails. When God created the earth, He had a plan: an eternal relationship with us. He has communicated that plan to people throughout the ages, inviting them to join Him in fulfilling it. Yet His plan is not dependent on us, so we cannot ruin it by refusing to join Him or making mistakes. Far more life on this earth is part of His plan, but the best is yet to come! Revealing and enacting His plan shows He is the God of hope.
God is powerful and good. He sets the course of each celestial object in the universe. He arranges each atom just as He wants it. He controls the seasons, the tides, the span of each life. Yet his goodness is revealed in every detail as well. Our bodies are perfectly suited for life on earth. We experience happiness and satisfaction. He promises to reward righteousness and punish evil. He offers us forgiveness. Demonstrations of His power and goodness prove He is the God of hope.
God is love. We are designed to put our hope in love. That is why so many books, movies, and songs focus on love. The message is reinforced by well-known sentiments such as “love conquers all”, “love means never having to say you are sorry”, and “all we need is love”. But humans are incapable of being a stable source of love. God’s love, however, never wavers. We can be confident in it because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, whose perfect love led Him to sacrifice Himself as the ransom our lives. And this gives us hope! Sacrificial, unconditional love sets Him apart as the God of hope.
Keeping our hope fixed on God, through Jesus, is an important aspect of far more life. But God asks us to take it a step further and share our hope with others:
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (I Peter 3:15, NIV)
I was recently challenged with this question: what source am I most actively promoting as the reason for my hope during this pandemic? Is it a particular doctor? An elected official? A political party? A line of research? Or am I primarily hoping in God and pointing people toward Jesus?
Far more life has hope in eternal life, with God through Christ, which is evident in our words and actions. Hope allows His Spirit in us to stand out: we can remain calm when others panic; we can act with kindness and generosity when others are rude and selfish; we can grieve what we have lost while wholeheartedly celebrating what we have. During this time, hope in God opens the door for us to share how a relationship with Jesus gives us far more life, empowering us to live above our circumstances and remain hopeful.
This is how far more life puts hope into action:
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. (I Peter 1:13, NIV)
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. (Psalm 31:24, NIV)
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. (Psalm 130:5, NIV)
You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. (Psalm 119:114, NIV)
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. (Psalm 62:5, NIV)
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. (2 Corinthians 3:12, NIV)
Make this your motto: my hope is secure in God! Share it with those who are seeking hope. Far more life is the best gift you have ever received…and the best gift you can give to others!
Are you hopeful or hopeless?
In what are you placing your hope? Is that source secure or shifting?
What confirms to you that God is the God of hope? What causes you to doubt?
What source of hope are you promoting to others?
Who in your circle is seeking hope? How can you share the reason for the hope that you have?
Thank God for the hope of far more life!
Copyright 2020, Shari Damaso