Because I write about hope, I recently completed a series on the character of GOD. If you have read my posts here for long, you know that I define hope as confident assurance based on the Person and promises of GOD. You won’t find that specific definition spelled out that way in the Bible, but I think you will find that it agrees with the use of hope found throughout Scripture. It’s not a definition that is original with me, by the way. It came from my favorite and longest pastor, my husband.
This definition makes hope a much more concrete concept
I find it to be a very helpful, useful definition. Am I in need of hope? The use of hope in the Bible always carries the idea of a certain and sure thing. It doesn’t have the meaning we have in English that contains uncertainty, sometimes even impossibility!
That’s why this definition is helpful for me. Am I thinking about the character of GOD in relation to my “hopeless” situation? What promises of GOD would apply to this situation? GOD’s apparently unkept promises often relate more to a matter of His timing rather than His forgetfulness or ignoring of the promise. They are based on His character. So in no way does it have to do with His holding a grudge against me for past sin–as His child, I am totally forgiven! That is an undeserved gift I was given at my salvation.
As I think through the many aspects of GOD’s character, I remember…No, He doesn’t do this because x and He doesn’t do that because y. But He does do this because He is __ and he does do that because He is __. It is an encouraging exercise for certain.
We will be looking at just a few of His promises. Hopefully, it will open your eyes to many more found in the Bible.
So for the next couple of months, I plan to focus on some of GOD’s promises. Of course, there are many! But these are a few that we can make a point of memorizing for our benefit. These days many of us are discouraged for a variety of reasons. Often, our focus is on politics, our future, health, and a host of other issues. We are easily tempted to worry. Hope is the last thing we feel when it comes to describing our lives.
But if we belong to Christ, we are called to something different than the world around us. It doesn’t make sense. It really doesn’t make sense if we base it on what we can see. But hope isn’t based on what we can see. Hope is based on something that is not seen and is eternal.
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together
in the pains of childbirth until now.
And not only the creation, but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons,
the redemption of our bodies.
For in this hope we were saved.
Now hope that is seen is not hope.
For who hopes for what he sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see,
we wait for it with patience.
Romans 8:22-25 ESV
Today’s promise is familiar to all of you who have had a long relationship with church. You have heard this and other Benedictions given at the end of your worship service. Often, you missed the words because you were so glad to leave. It was time to go home!
In many churches, the pastor tells you to receive the Benediction. You lift up your hands to receive it. Ours does that. I love it. Today, our pastor made a point of commenting that the Benediction is a promise that GOD is doing these very things. It is not some wild hope that maybe He might do it. It is His promise to all who are in Christ: this is what I am doing for my people today and throughout all generations! Be hopeful and encouraged! This passage is rich with hope for us. Chew on it this week. Think over the phrases. As you do, day by day, they will slowly seep into your memory.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,
equip you with everything good that you may do his will,
working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ,
to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 13:20-21 ESV
Read these encouraging words today! This is what GOD is doing in the life of everyone who is a child of GOD. These are words to memorize and keep in your heart and mind. We need these words today.