Finding hope in GOD is a process. It is a learning process. It isn’t like turning on a light switch. Today I don’t have hope in GOD and tomorrow I do. It’s much more more like getting to know someone. There is a beginning to my relationship with GOD. I meet Him. I tell Him I trust Him with my life. I make that commitment based on facts at the beginning. But as I move through life, I’m only learning what that even means.
What is Biblical Hope?
And what does it even mean to hope in GOD? Biblical hope means confident assurance based on the person and promises of GOD. So the process of learning to hope in GOD involves getting to know more of who He is. I learn that intellectually partly. But the process is not merely an intellectual one. It is also spiritual as the Spirit of GOD opens my eyes to truth from His Word. I put into practice what I learn, often through prayer as I relate to Him. We walk through life together and I learn, especially through hard times, what He is like.
What does the Bible teach about who GOD is?
What does the Bible teach about who GOD is? You won’t find it all in one sitting. It takes time to learn as you see how He relates to His creation. How did He relate to Adam and Eve in the garden before they disobeyed Him? After? How did He relate to His people during the years they were traveling to the Promised Land? What is said about Him in the books of history? The books of Poetry (the Psalms for example.) What is said about GOD the Father in the New Testament, the Son, the Holy Spirit? It is interesting to see what we learn about how who GOD is, is no different from one of the three to another. But the work of each is a bit different.
The Psalms are very helpful terms of metaphors: He is my Rock, Fortress, Shield, Shepherd…as you think through these metaphors, you can think of the ways GOD has been strong, steady, powerful, tender, for you during hard times.
But the Psalms also talk about how GOD is terrible, mighty, someone to be feared, strong, etc. We read in real life about the awesomeness and absolute scariness of GOD when He was on the mountain giving the ten commandments. Exodus 19-35 talks about both times He gave the Ten Commandments. In Deuteronomy 5-15, we find it all again, but stated differently. We learn a lot about who He is!
So with each Bible study, devotional time, sermon we hear preached, worship service we participate in, we are learning more about who GOD is, what He has promised in His Word…or both.
Getting to know the character of GOD and the promises of GOD happens by a combination of things: GOD’s Word, Prayer, Participation in your local church in worship, fellowship, mission. All these combine to build the things that grow hope in GOD
As we follow GOD, spend time with Him, spend time talking to Him in prayer, we get to know Him. Our hope in Him is built up. We see how He works. We see how He has kept His promises. We see how He has shown His love for us over and over. We come to see how faithful He is. He has been good, even in the hard times.
As we come to know Him better, we are able to hope in Him because we know that even when the worst things happen, He cares for us. He is not being spiteful. He is GOD! He is huge. He is just. He is holy. He can’t tolerate sin. It’s not simply a minor irritant like a mosquito, it is something totally intolerable to Him…just as injustice, unrighteousness, evil are.
But it is not a solitary function. We are to be involved in a local church in worship, fellowship and mission. This is where we grow. We need to rub up against people who are different from us in age, social status, color, you name it! our churches need to be places that show that diverse people can live together in unity! Sadly, that has not been the case in most places in the U.S. But that is a story for another post!
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
Psalm 33:18-22 ESV