Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Power of Hope

Have you ever felt hopeless? Divorce, death of a spouse or child, critical illness, and job loss are all reasons that provoke hopelessness. In our failing economy, many are losing jobs, homes, vehicles and retirement value. How can we remain hopeful in bad times? What is the power of hope?

Dictionary.com gives the first definition of hope as “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.” There is realistic hope and unrealistic hope. To hope that you win the lottery to offset your financial loss is not a realistic hope. Misplaced hopes can lead to disappointment, despair and even depression.

Realistic hope can actually lift our mood. That job you applied for, hoping you get it actually gives you a mental boost that an end is in sight for your hard economic times. A new clinical drug trial provides hope that a cure can be found. Hope inspires us.

What are you putting your hope in? Is it realistic? In Isaiah 49:23, God says, “you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” But how does our definition of hope translate to having hope in God?

Dictionary.com also provides an archaic or ancient definition of hope which is “to place trust; rely (usually fol. by in).” In other words, hoping in God is trusting in God. Faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hope and faith are tightly woven together. Our hope in God produces greater faith.

How does our disappointment fit into this? Disappointment when we don’t get the job, or get well, or get what we hoped for? Romans 5:2-5 says, “we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

Rejoice in suffering? How can we do that? According to that passage, if we didn’t have some level of suffering we’d have nothing to hope for, would we? If we had nothing to hope for, would we really need anyone to hope in? Suffering or disappointment in worldly things may actually strengthen our faith and hope in Christ, as we know he is the only one who can truly meet our needs.

Never give up hope! Let God inspire you during your times of trial. He is trustworthy.
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3b-5)

An inheritance that will never perish, spoil or fade, in these economic times? That is a reason to rejoice, and never give up hope!

"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


Kelly



13 comments:

Sharon Sloan said...

Amen, Kelly! He is our hope!

Hope in Him. His hope is indeed the anchor to our soul! Hebrews 6:19 - "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."

For the past two days, the Lord has brought me to this passage during my quiet time:
Hebrews 5:7-9 (learning obedience through suffering and trials...being made perfect)
"During the days of Jesus' life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Although He was a son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him."

Great post, Kelly! I have a spring in my step today! :)

Greg C said...

Great post Kelly. I couldn't find "the link down below" so I went over to visit Sonya and found the link there.
I think some people only hope for good things instead of that God's will be done and that is why a lot of people are let down. I know that I am such a small part of God's plan that things don't always go great for me but that's ok.

Sue J. said...

This reminds me of something Beth Moore said on her video for "Living Beyond Yourself" the other morning. "Is it relevant?" she asked over and over. Meaning, was studying God's Word in this subject still 'realistic' to use your word today.

This is such a realistic and relevant message for today and every day! You've done a wonderful job bringing forward the Scriptures and explaining a concept that folks often have a hard time getting their hands around.

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

I agree with Greg...sometimes we want what we want instead of whatever it is that God wants. We should take heed and be careful that our hope is based on Him and His plans for our live rather than on what we think we need.

BTW...have you ever used the 1828 Noah Webster dictionary online? It's definitions are quite eye-opening. Check it out:

http://www.1828-dictionary.com/

KrippledWarrior said...

I hope everything works out for me, is very different from the hope I have in Jesus.
The former is a pathetic attempt at power of positive thinking. The latter is the result of a promise from the ever-lasting Creator of the Universe.

Edie said...

We tend to use the word "hope" interchangeably "wish". That makes it difficult to "get our hands around it" as Sue J said.

I have seen the definition "confident expectation" for hope but have never made the connection with the word "trust" before.

This makes me want to do a study on hope. :) Really great post Kelly!

Carmen said...

You've brought that across very well, Kelly.
"Suffering or disappointment in worldly things may actually strengthen our faith and hope in Christ, as we know He is the only one who can truly meet our needs." That is exactly what we're here to learn...there's no point in any of this without Him!
I also love the scripture in 1 Peter 1 that you used.I need to copy that one over for my fridge! :)
Thanks for that message!

John said...

My wife and I lost our little daughter, two years old, this past summer. Without the hope known only in God, the hope of eternity spent with God and his other children in Heaven, the hope I would see my child again some day, I believe I would killed myself, such is the agony of her loss. I believe that her death spared him from much future suffering and, in that way, it was a blessing. God loves us; I know this. Through Him, hope in Glory. Good post. :)

John said...

I meant to say 'spared her'

Nana Jul said...

That was an excellent post! Hope is walking out Faith with your eyes and heart on Jesus!
A study on hope would be really good!
Julie

Melanie said...

For 2 days, over and over, I have been listening to "With Hope" by Steven Curtis Chapman. I linked it on my FB page.
'Hoping to see my boy very soon.
Forever 5.

Warren Baldwin said...

Good encouragement to hope and not give in to despair. I love Romans 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 Hoy Spirit."

2Thinks said...

What KW said. My mind was on this very word this past week.

Great post, I recognized your writing before I actually saw your name signed at the bottom :)

Finally, I will get this site saved so I can find the posts more quickly and more often!
Heidi