When you think of the word hope, what comes to mind? For some of us, hope is a dirty word. That’s okay. We need to admit it and start where we are.
Hope is such an interesting concept and one that I fear is misunderstood and too easily thrown around in churchy circles in wrong ways.
Because here’s the hard truth about this life: from what I can tell – we do not have a hope that God will work out our earthly circumstances the way we want Him to.
Our marriage may remain challenging; our cancer may not heal; the baby we dream of may not come; the life dream may not come to pass.
God does not promise us an amazing marriage. God does not promise us a man who will love us. (It’s not about a man. Let me say that again. It’s not about a man. It’s about you and Jesus.)
It’s not about you in different circumstances, to quote Elisabeth Elliot, it’s about Christ in you.
There is no guarantee in God’s word that tells us this life will be easy or fair.
Just the contrary, in fact. We are practically guaranteed that we will experience hardships of one kind or the other. In this world, you will have trouble…
A little ways back, I had two unrelated hard and horrible things happen to me that took me out at my emotional knees. It was my lowest point in a few years, and I’ve had some low points!
I could tell that I had a choice…let this sadness and fear sweep over me and keep me down or do something about it. And I chose the latter thankfully.
I kept moving forward. I made some hard decisions. I made a list of things to do that had 78 items on it! And I kept going.
But I did something else that ended up being the most important thing. I gave myself a crash course in hope. Real Hope.
There are lower-case hopes…I hope the Cubs win…I hope my son gets into the college he wants…I hope I don’t get sick on vacation…
And even THESE HUGE THINGS are lower-case hopes…I hope my daughter starts speaking to me again…I hope my husband gets help…I hope I can pay these bills…I hope the biopsy comes back as no cancer…
So let’s talk about capital H hope. Because when we really get a handle on this concept, it can and will change us from inside out if we let it. I say this because it has and is changing me!
This is where our true HOPE lies, girls:
Christ in you the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27
Living within you is the Christ who floods you with the expectation of glory! This mystery of Christ, embedded within us, becomes a heavenly treasure chest of hope filled with the riches of glory for his people, and God wants everyone to know it! (TPT)
The moment you enter into a relationship with God by admitting you need him and asking for forgiveness and accepting his offer of salvation, Christ takes up residence in you.
Add to that: we then have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.
Christ is our hope. And Christ lives in us. Which means that HOPE lives in us.
I am confident of this: We will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. -Psalm 27:13
And Jesus said to us, I have come to bring you life and bring it to the full. -John 10:10
The Passion Translation says, I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow!
So, though our circumstances may not turn out the way we want…oh girls…we WILL see God’s goodness to us in our lifetime…if we have eyes and hearts to see it. And he WILL bring us abundant life…though it may look differently than we’re expecting.
Listen to this little gem from Psalm 84:11: The LORD withholds no good thing.
That may be a bitter pill to swallow and we may be thinking, OH REALLY??? But what that means is that God withholds from us no GOD-GOOD THING. He may withhold what we think are good things but only because he loves us!
So, we can have capital HOPE here on earth, in our bodies, in this season of life, in our circumstances even if they feel hard and crappy.
BUT EVEN BETTER THAN ALL OF THAT – which would be enough!!! – is this:
Finally, here is this hope that we can have as an anchor for our souls: we will see Jesus face to face.
Or as the Passion Translation says, “they will see constantly his face…”
And girls, when we do…ohmylands…everything else will just pass away. We can get so focused on what’s right in front of us or our scary earthly futures that we make up in our minds…and I get all of that…I’m right there with you in all of that… BUT our eternity is a blink away and our lives here will be like a breath in comparison.
I think we need to change our language a bit.
We can have a desire. I desire my marriage to be better. But hoping our marriage will be better…that’s out of our control. And so if it doesn’t get better, than we lose hope.
We can have a goal. My goal is to lose 20 pounds this year. Hoping you’ll lose weight won’t make the pounds fall off. Setting a goal and then doing something about it will.
But we must absolutely remember this about real, true Hope:
Hope is not about a circumstance.
Hope is not about a feeling.
Hope is not about a person.
Hope is about Jesus. Living in you. Giving you an abundant life, even now in the middle of your whatever feels too hard. Promising to see us face to face, sooner than we can imagine.
So when everything is bearing down on us and everything feels awful: we must remind ourselves and each other that one day, sooner than we know, all of this will be over and behind us and we will be with Jesus, who loves us like no other ever could.
You alone, LORD, are our radiant hope. – Psalm 33:20
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