Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.  (Psalm 25:4-5)

 

Through our most appalling times, somehow we keep breathing all day long.  In the face of the worst of events, somehow our hearts keep beating all day long.  We don’t have to consciously direct our lungs and heart to continue functioning. As long as there’s no disease, they do what they were created to do, and keep life going through good times and bad.

Hope is a natural function of the human personality.  However, unlike our vital organs, hope can be removed by repeated abuse, disappointments and setbacks.  We can still be alive, but not living as God intended.

How can we develop and nurture a hope that keeps breathing life and pulsing strength all day long?  How can we have the kind of hope we don’t have to muster up when there’s no muster left in us?

There are many kinds of hope.  What we call hope can simply mean wishing; something based not in reality , but on what we wish were real.  We can pin our hope on the very improbable, like a lottery, to change our lives for the better.  We can put our hope in achievements like education or wealth to give us a good life.  We can hope in people to be a source of happiness, security or fulfilment.

Some of these hopes are more rational than others.  None is failsafe.

There is only one hope that is guaranteed. It’s the hope that, when understood and fully absorbed, becomes so much a part of us that it keeps on breathing and pulsing through the worst of times.

Hope in God and His promises is not wishful thinking for a trouble-free life here on Earth. It’s not gambling at long odds to get something for nothing.  It’s not trusting what we can do for ourselves.  It’s not counting on others to fill our empty places.

Hope in God is based on His nature, His purposes, and His promises. It’s anchored in Jesus, his death and resurrection. It’s guaranteed by the gift of His Holy Spirit:

And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us   (Romans 5:5)

Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.  God did this so that . . . we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  (Heb. 6:17-19)

Hope in God is both immediate and timeless:  “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Josh. 1:5); “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  (Isa. 41:10)

Our most glorious hope is one that is as matchless as it is certain: eternity in the presence of the unfading beauty of God’s holiness, in the radiance of His unfailing love for us, living as we were created to before sin entered the world.  In eternity, there will be a new Earth in complete harmony with God’s will, where we will be in fellowship with His redeemed people.  This is the hope that anchors the soul, the hope that is the heart of faith, the lifeblood of our endurance, the inspiration for our joy.

As our understanding deepens and our faith matures, this hope becomes organic — a vital part of our being.  It continues to function despite every threat, enabling us to endure whatever the present may bring in the strength God gives, shaken by events but secure in His love, unsure of outcomes here, but joyful in the guarantee of the most important outcome of all.

A faith based on God’s truth and His love demonstrated at Calvary is the heart of hope — a hope that can suffuse every part of us, and refuse to be denied.