Finding Hope :: by John Lysaught

In the Spirit of God we find hope. Hope of a better today. Hope for a brighter tomorrow. Hope in Christ. Is it easy to lose this hope? Sure it is.Life throws all sorts of stuff at us that can bog us down. Some days it’s a drizzle while other days it’s a storm. Burdens pile up. Trouble stacks up against you. No lifeboat is in sight. The light of hope can get more and more dim.

The shadows of darkness are sharper and seem to envelope you. The rapids of life boil over and you gulp for air that isn’t there. You’re looking for a life vest to be tossed to you but what you really need is to reach out and grasp hold of hope. Of course hope isn’t a tangible, but a spiritual thing. I say this because those who don’t follow Jesus don’t have hope like we do.

The unsaved have hope in things that are not spiritual. They hope for more money. They hope for a bigger house or a better job. They hope for fleshly satisfaction and they hope for… you fill in the blank.They hope for anything and everything other than the one thing they should have hope in: Christ.

When life treats us badly, we pray and pray with the hope for life to get better. When life is going our way, we take for granted the hope we have in Christ and we stop praying with the earnestness we had when our lives weren’t going so great. I’m not saying we are all bad at this, well… yes, I am saying a lot of us are. If you disagree… that’s okay; pray for us who aren’t.

The point is, all of us need hope and this need never diminishes but gets bigger the more we realize how unfathomable God is and how much we need Him each day in our lives. We tend to leave the hope we need in Christ behind us only to turn around and sprint back to hope when we need it.We are just as bad as the Israelis in the Old Testament.

They only sought after God when things were going really badly for them. Once God came into the scene, they turned back to God with the hope of His promises to only put God in the rearview mirror again when life was going pretty good for them. This cycle repeated itself throughout history. We do this same thing today as they did throughout history.

It seems that when life has its foot on the back of our neck while we’re in the dirt do we do our best to look up to heaven for hope in heavenly intervention. When our oppressors get knocked on their butts and we stand up again, our eyes look everywhere else but up.When we look for hope, we find it and when we find hope we need to keep it close to our hearts—not to use it only when we have a need.

Romans 15:13 tells us:

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (KJV).

The apostle Paul wasn’t saying that we abound in anything else but hope from the hope of God. Not some hope, but hope. Hope being (from Strong’s Concordance, 1680) the expectation, trust, and/or confidence we have in God. God wants us to abound in hope.

Again, He didn’t qualify this hope with a timeframe or a scenario, but simply says abound, which is always. Where do we get this expectant hope? From the Holy Spirit, not on your own. Not through money, a movie star or politician, but through the Holy Spirit.The Holy Spirit was given to us by God to teach us and to help us remember His ways (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit will guide you and help you keep the hope you need to survive in this world.

Hope can be easy to lose though. One can let it go and dive into despair. Let’s be honest, sometimes we think we are hoping in God, but in reality we are relying on ourselves. When we rely on ourselves, we fail and when we fail on our own accord, we are disappointed which then leads to loss of hope. It’s almost as if we have a half-and-half relationship with God regarding hope.

We don’t want to give up complete control of our lives and the issues we have. At the same time though, we want hope in God, but it’s more like we’re trying to convince ourselves to have hope in God because we aren’t completely sure He will come through for us. I know this is something a lot of people may disagree with, but isn’t this a reality for some people? Just like it’s hard to completely surrender to Christ, it’s difficult sometimes to completely have hope.

Holistically, yes we have hope, but when it comes to the more minor issues in life, we may not have 100 percent of hope in our hearts. For example, you’re in financial trouble. You pray for relief and help and with that you need to have hope that God will help you. Yet in the back of your mind, you’re still going through the “what-if’s” scenarios just in case. We’ve all done this on some level. To say that you don’t, I believe you need to relook and examine yourself.

There is hope for your hope life with God. First and foremost, don’t give up on hope or God. Without hope, we are lost. Without hope, what do we have to look forward to? Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37). You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13). God has plans for you, your future, and to give you hope (Jeremiah 29:11

I can go on and on, but the point is that God wants you to have hope in Him. If you don’t have hope in Him, your hope will be in worldly things not of God and will leave you disappointed. Our problem is that when we face troubles or have needs, we pray and expect God to answer our prayers on our terms and timeline.

God is not a convenience store where we can get what we as we need it in a pinch. No, we need to be realistic about hope. We need to understand that God works on His timeline, not ours. His will is greater than ours and His plans for us may not be known to us. It doesn’t mean we don’t give up on hope. The more we wait on God in hope, the more understanding of God we will have.

We need to learn patience with our hope. We are so used to instant gratification of our needs and wants that our patience is about as far as the length of an arm.

“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer” (Romans 12:12 KJV).

The three main components of this verse are virtues that we need to apply in every facet of our lives: hope, patience, and prayer. Each feeds upon the other all intimately tied to together.

As one of the ingredients, hope is integral in this cycle. Hope is a virtue that needs to be practiced, especially with our busy lives. We need hope to hold on to our faith and in our effort to grow closer to God.

The prophet Isaiah says in Chapter 40:31:

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

As we learn to wait on God, we also learn to maintain and increase our hope. Hope is always available to us. Hope never runs out. Without hope in the Lord, we have nothing to look forward to. With hope, we can find our place in this world. We can strive to do God’s will for us and to serve Him. God Bless.