Hope is a strange thing.
It can be elusive. It can be diminutive. It can be the one thing that keeps a person moving forward.
There are several different definitions of “Hope” found in the dictionary. Tonight I want to center on just one of these definitions:
a person or thing in which expectations are centered
That’s a tremendous definition. If we take a scripturally based paradigmatic look at this definition, then what we see is–what we should see–is our God. And our Savior. Because when our expectations are wholly centered on Him, on our Abba, Father, it is then that we find life-giving hope. No one needs to hear that more than me. When I take my eyes off of Christ, then hope completely disappears and in it’s place reigns despair, darkness, hopelessness. Hopelessness. A desire to give up reaches its tentacles deep within our soul, and once they are there, it’s only God that can remove Him, once we repent of our unbelief and lack of trust and put our expectations back where they belong–squarely on the one true God—our provider. Our judge. Our rescuer. Our defender. Our Abba.
Today, John Piper listed 10 reasons why one should not give up. It’s a tremendous list. A good friend of mine suggested that I keep a copy of it and read it every morning and every night. I’ve already printed it out. I suggest that you visit John Piper’s post HERE . Below is an excerpt:
In this age, Jesus grants us the gospel rest of ceasing the impossible labor of self-atonement for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21). But in embracing the gospel we find ourselves also drafted into a war — a war to keep believing the gospel and a war to spread it to others. In this age we “strive to enter that [complete] rest” of the age to come (Hebrews 4:11).
And wars are exhausting — especially long ones. That’s why you are often tired. Most soldiers who experience the fierceness of combat want to get out of it. That’s why you feel urges to escape or surrender. That’s why there are times you’re tempted to give up.
But don’t give up. No, rather “take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7).
Take Courage. Take courage. O, how often I want to give up. I want to run from this new normal of a life. But here I stand with the barest slim ribbon of hope that I pray God will honor and will continue to use the bellows of scripture work, prayer and community to fan it into a roaring fire of hope. And of Joy.
I’ve been deeply, deeply discouraged at times this week. The kind of discouragement that whispers in my ear “Give up. There is no hope.” But I know truth and truth tells me that Hope is of God, and that He gives hope to his children.
Tonight I am missing Ram, my dear friend in Hawaii who went home to Jesus tonight. His hope has been realized. I must believe that is truth.
I’m reminded of a worship song that ascribes hope to God. The title is “My Hope”, the lyrics simple but profound:
You are righteous
You love justice
And those who honour You
Will see your face
I will arise and lift my eyes to see
And all I am will bless you
My hope is in the Name of the Lord
Where my help comes from
You’re my strength, my song
My trust is in the Name of the Lord
I will sing your praise
You are faithful
Tonight I am hopeful. I’m home with my crew in a safe house. We are all together, this crazy family of mine. Earlier in the day, I was greatly encouraged by my friend. And Piper’s Post–whew. How needed was that post? Very much needed for both my soul and my mind. I am grateful and hopeful.
12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.