We have been talking about hope in Sunday School and today it prompted me to deeper thinking as I am praying for a good friend who is waiting with great hope right now. Most of the time we think of hope as being directed toward a circumstance. We have hopes for our children, hopes for our future, hopes for relationships. We direct our hope toward a desired end.
I would like to pose a couple thoughts and questions:
First, how as Christians do we hope well? In other words, what separates what we call hope from what the world calls a wish? I believe the answer is FAITH. Hope is faithful waiting.
*As we wait faithfully we look to see God in our current circumstance and trust that He has that which we hope for under His control. Hope is faithful waiting.
*We thank Him in all circumstances because we trust His sovereignty. A friend today even referenced thanking God that she DID NOT have enough money to pay her rent. She trusted so deeply in the sovereignty of God that she could be thankful in all circumstances as she waited for God's provision. Hope is faithful waiting.
1 Thes 5:18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
*We remember that the point at which it appears most "hopeless" is the point of greatest opportunity for God to do something incredible.
*We remember that the Christian walk is often more about the journey than the end and we wait faithfully. But here is the really hard part my friend. The part where our hearts ache most deeply and our faith is tested at its core.
What do we do when we wait faithfully and then our desired end does not come? What do we do when the marriage fails, the job doesn't work out, or the family member passes?
*I think first we cling to the truth that God is good and He loves us. His goodness does not change with our circumstances. He is Good all the time.
*Then, we hope again. ...But this time it is different.
We no longer hope in a circumstance. Instead we hope in the character of a merciful and redeeming God. When we can't have hope for our circumstance we have a deeper hope and while it is not the hope we think of most, it is the hope we see most in scripture.
Ps 39:7 "But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you."
Lam 3:22-24 "The Lord's loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him."
Rom 15:13 "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."
Now we hope. We faithfully wait. This is not just for our circumstances but it is rooted in Him and His character. He is good. He is redeemer. He is sovereign. He is true. He is Love. He is provider. He is the way maker when there seems to be no way.
May your days be filled with hope.
(Thank you to the ladies of my sunday school class for challenging me. Love you girls)