When life brings us bitter experiences, where do we put our hope in? Is it in God? Is it in others? Often we might think our hope is in God. Yet if we honestly allow the light of God’s truth to search our hearts we will soon find out that our hope was misplaced on others rather than in God.
How does this happen? Let us look at one example. Take for example King Asa. He was a godly king. He relied on God and defeated armies by seeking God in prayer. Encouraged by the prophets of that time he sought God along with the people and made many reforms. Yet later in his life he relied on other kings rather than on God. And towards the end of his life he was diseased in his feet. The Bible says, “Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the Lord, but only from the physicians” (2 Chronicles 16:12b). What a sad end!
But there are others like Hannah who in times of great distress pour out their souls to God in prayer and put their hope in God (1 Samuel 1:10). For God is called the Hope of Israel, its Saviour in times of distress (Jeremiah 14:8). Paul points out that our hope in God is a direct result of the work of the Spirit of God in our lives. His prayer and wish is recorded thus: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13)[emphasis added]. Hope also come to us through the “encouragement of the Scriptures” (Romans 15:4). Therefore the more we rely on the Holy Spirit and on meditating on what is written in the Bible with a humble learning attitude, the more we will have hope in God.
It is also to be noted that God listens when we say words of despair as we lose hope in Him. He listened when the people of Israel complained saying, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God” (Isaiah 40:27b). But Prophet Isaiah focuses the attention of the people to God who gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Finally, he says that “those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31)[emphasis added].
In the same way, when the people who were in exile in Babylon complained, saying, “Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off,” God replied saying that He will open their graves (meaning their situation in exile; without hope) and bring them back to their land and will also put the Spirit of God within their hearts. Yes, our dry bones (our situations without hope) will live at the hearing of God’s prophetic word and by the Spirit of God who comes like wind and breathes God’s life into our hopeless situations!
So dear child of God, do not give up hope. Say with the Psalmist, “My hope is in you” (Psalm 39:7b). Do not be downcast, do not be disturbed; but put your hope in God; for you will yet praise Him (Psalm 42:5). Do not be like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, who faces were downcast as they said to Jesus in the past tense “we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21)[emphasis added]. Sadly they were mistaken because Jesus was risen from the dead; and He is still the Living One who is going to fulfil their hopes as well as yours!
Related Reading: Those Who Hope in the Lord