Hope :: by John Lysaught

Charles L. Allen once said, “When you say a situation or a person is hopeless, you are slamming the door in the face of God.” Psalm 119:114 says “You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.”

Hope. What is hope? Hope is a confident expectation, trust and sure certainty that what God has said in His Word is true. It isn’t a wish or a petty thought but it is a certain expectation of the truth, the truth of God’s Word, the truth that Jesus is real, and the expectation of eternity with Jesus in heaven. Through faith we have hope and with hope we have trust in the promises in the Word and salvation through Jesus Christ.

I never thought about what hope is until recently. I had my own definition of hope and found after some simple research of what hope is regarding the Bible and that my hope was very lacking in my expectation of what the Word says when it speaks of hope. My definition of hope to myself was a meek wishy-washy thought that what the Bible said was true.

I didn’t realize that hope is certainty that the truth is the truth, and that I can expect the truth to be true. My expectation was that hope was “hope” that something is true. Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe everything in the Bible, but my interpretation of hope was at a lower standard than what biblical meaning for hope really is.

I think some other people are in the same boat. On Yahoo, I looked up hope and one of the definitions of hope was “to wish for something with expectation of fulfillment.” That was what I was operating under, a “wish” of fulfillment, not a confidence of fulfillment, but only a meager wish of it. How wrong I have been when reading the Bible. This new found vision of what hope really means changes how I view things.

For example, Psalm 71:5 says, “For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.” Hope in this verse to me didn’t mean a certainty but meant a wish of fulfillment. Now I read this with a different thought: God has been my certainty and confidence.  But, enough about what hope’s definition is, let’s get into hope in the Lord…

“Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope” (Acts 2:26).

We all need hope. We need hope to survive each day, to survive in this life in which we live. We need hope and confidence in the Word that God will comfort and help us in this worldly society. Evil is abundant in our lives and surrounds us with temptation and challenges to our faith and hope in salvation with Jesus. Sin is ever-present in life and we must have the confidence and hope that God is with us, to help us overcome the world and to overcome the challenges that we face.

To face the ills of the world and the challenges we face, we must be glad in heart and rejoice that the Lord does offer us the hope of a better future for us in eternity. With hope comes the rest and refreshment of confidence that we can overcome the world. This world is a whirlwind of trouble for us and gives us challenges everyday to face and overcome. With hope in Jesus and a future with Him, we must hold on to the hope of salvation and peace that comes from Christ. And the guidance that we hold with the Holy Spirit through hope that His guidance is true.

It can be hard to hear the Holy Spirit in our lives but in Acts 2:38 it says once you are saved, you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This gift of the Holy Spirit is a guide for you to overcome the world and reinforce your hope in God and the truth of His Word. How the Holy Spirit talks to may be different than the next person, but you will know the truth He provides, and if you follow this guidance your hope and expectations of rejoicing and joy will follow. The Holy Spirit talks to me by putting heaviness on my heart about the that I thoughts that I have. He guides me  as to what is right or wrong in my heart and gives me a sense of peace or a conviction to do the right thing.

“Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart” (Acts 8:22).

Ever make a mistake? Ever not listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Ever decide that you know best for yourself and ignore that gut feeling that what you are about to do isn’t right? Ever sin? If you haven’t done any of these, then you are lying to yourself. I do this sometimes. I’m a stubborn man and sometimes I think I know best and do things my own way without consulting God or listening to the Holy Spirit, and end up messing things up or sinning.

This is not a thing to dwell on because there is hope (certainty) that He will forgive you. As a child of God, as an imperfect human being, we are prone to make mistakes and prone to sin. Ask for forgiveness and move on, striving to trust in the Lord with the hope that you will not repeat this sin or mistake again.

We all are still walking on the path of perfection and we won’t be perfect until we pass on to heaven. During our walk with Christ, we will continue to make mistakes but by His grace, we will be forgiven and can continue on—not being separated from the Lord. Sin is a separation from God so we must always repent of our sins and our wrongs doings to ensure we stay in close relationship with Christ.

The wickedness of the world will want you to stray, and not ask for forgiveness. Satan and his minions are always working to separate us from Christ so must hold onto that hope in Him and the hope that He will help us through life’s challenges thrown at us not only by the world but by Satan and his workers of evil. Have hope in overcoming. Have hope in success.

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

In this season, Satan is working hard to keep us from Jesus and to make us take on a path contrary to the path of salvation. The Rapture is closer each and every day that we live in these evil world. The world is falling apart, churches aren’t teaching the word of salvation but instead teach “feel good” messages that only make people feel good about themselves without talking about salvation, and the “faith movement” is slapping God in the face and leading people away from Christ. Once you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are a new creature and you are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. Not only to give you discernment but to let you know and give you hope of the love of Christ in your hearts.

Having hope in our hearts is not something to ashamed of. People make fun of us and look down on us for the hope we have of eternity. They are lost children, oblivious to Jesus’ selfless gift when He died for us and rose again. They mock us, they look down at us and they hate us for our hope and beliefs. Nowadays, you don’t see people looking up to us. Don’t see them looking to us for help. They don’t look for us to be a moral compass. They have fallen into the snare and trap that Satan has caught them with and they are lost souls. No wonder it is so hard to find people to introduce to God.

Don’t be ashamed of your beliefs. Don’t hide your identity as a Christian, a true Christian. A lot of “Christians” aren’t really Christians and this is seen by their failure to not stand-up for Christ, but rather deny Him by their actions to others and their attitudes toward others. I’ve seen it, you’ve seen it. These so-called Christians are only Christians on Sunday mornings, but are worldly when not in church and give true Christians a bad name. These phony Christians prove to the world that Christianity is a farce because a majority of them are not truly saved. What a shame.

True Christians stand for Christ and are not shameful of their beliefs of truth and our hope. Live that example, for if you deny Christ He will deny He knew you. Don’t be ashamed of being a Christian. Be proud of it and let your light shine unto others.

“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8:25 NIV).

The world does not understand what hope is. They hope for good weather, they hope for wealth, they hope for pleasures that are ungodly. The hope they have are of wishes, and not the certainty that we understand hope to be. I think one of the hardest things is patience with my hopes. I’m guilty of this. I want to hear God and have the Holy Spirit help me sometimes right now. I want blessing right now and I want guidance right now. I’m learning patience and for me it is an off again and on again thing.

Patience was a big lesson I learned years ago. I was still in the Army in 2007 and looking for a good future and for my next assignment. The Holy Spirit put it very heavy on my heart to resign my officer commission and get out of the Army. I dwelt on this for a few months arguing against my heart but it was so heavy I knew it was of God, so I resigned. I kept asking why for quite a while but the Holy Spirit told me to be patient with hope, and so I let it go, got a job and waited. Four years later the reason getting out of the Army came to me; why I had to listen to the Holy Spirit and to be patient with my hope for God had planned for me.

Long story short is that my daughter who lived with her mother was being physically and mentally abused, and not in a stable home. She came to visit me and I wouldn’t let her go back home with her mother. She was 14 at this time. God told me not to let her go home and I called the authorities regarding what was going on and they told me to keep her. Needless to say God blessed me because of my patience. If I had not listened to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, I would not have been in a position to take her in if I was still in the Army. As a note, her mother was convicted for what she did to my daughter. My daughter thrived in our house and graduated high school with honors.

My point is this: As the verse above says, we must wait patiently with hope. I waited four years for an answer from God. In our hope we must be patient for God to act. We must be patient when the Holy Spirit gives us things on our heart. Patience in hope may be days or years. Patience and hope are virtues that we must continue to remind ourselves of as we await the plans and things God has for us. We must have hope and trust that His guidance and path for each of us is true. We must believe in hope and must continue on our path, regardless of challenges, to have that hope of eternity with Christ.

How is your hope status? Are you patient with hope? Is your hope a wish or is it a certainty you feel in your heart of hearts? Hope is something we must hold onto to make it to the end. Hope can be hard at times, especially in challenges in our lives, but hope nonetheless will give us strength to endure and know that there is a perfect ending to our eternity.

Hope is the rope we hold on to, to help us climb up the mountain of life to get to the peak of the mountain—which is eternity in heaven. Hope gives up the will to keep moving forward and not looking back. Hope gives us the power to overcome the world, Satan, and the challenges we face in this world in which we live.

Keep looking up with hope. Keep hope in the forefront of your mind. Know that with hope comes forgiveness, salvation, and eternity with Christ. Don’t ever give up your hope in God. Don’t ever lose your hope in the face of adversity. Always hope that God is with you. It is through patience that your hope and trust in the righteousness in Christ will surely grow and ensure you overcome evil powers. And worldly temptations that surround us and pound us each day of our lives.

“But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory” (Hebrews 3:6).

God bless.

All Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible.