Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include; “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation” – Wikipedia.
Scripturally, hope is among the three greatest Christian virtues consisting of faith, hope and love (1 Cor. 13:13). Hope is spiritual, therefore, a thing of the heart just like faith and love. Hope is inseparable from faith and a confident trust in God (Ps. 33:21-22; Heb. 11:1). Hope concerns the future (Romans 8:24-25). It involves much more than a mere desire or a wish for something in the future, “The Biblical hope consists of assurance in the heart, even a firm confidence concerning future things, because these things are based on God’s promises and revelations”.
One of the basic truths revealed by Adam and Eve’s obedience to satan’s suggestions that eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil would not make them to die but rather would make their eyes open and they shall be as gods knowing good and evil (Gen 3:4-5) was their lack of confidence in God their Creator and His wonderful plans concerning their lives and future (Jer. 29:11).
Unfortunately, their sin of disobedience to God’s commandment (Gen.2:16-17) caused ruination to God’s original perfect plans for their future and creation at large. God’s image and likeness in man became depraved and corrupted. Man became alienated from God in whose presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forever more (Psalm 16:11). Sin destroyed the love, unity and harmonious relationship between God and man, man and his wife and other creations. Shame, guilt, fear and condemnation came upon man causing destruction to man’s inner peace, hope, love and joy. In place of blessings and fruitfulness is fruitlessness, hard labour, pains, hardship and suffering. Death in all its ramifications became operational to all living things. Man lost his dominion over creation to satan and he became a slave to him. The presence and activities of satan the evil and wicked one on earth has defiled and destroyed it; the earth has become chaotic, unstable, dangerous, restless, and full of evil and wickedness (1 John 5:19).
How would man originally created to worship the Holy God in holiness and purity of heart worship God now that he is depraved and alienated from God, the source of his life and everything? How would man face life and the future when Satan and sin have destroyed everything that would have given him a blissful present life and a beautiful future? How would humanity not collectively go into despair from the daily perplexing, brutal, unspeakable heart wrenching deaths, natural disasters, sicknesses, uncertainties, losses, pains, hardship, fruitlessness, demonic and satanic attacks, tragedies and nasty challenges challenging his existence and future? How would a man’s heart find help, love, peace and joy to comfort his soul in the midst of life’s troubles? Man is indeed in a hopeless situation without God! (Eph,2:12; 1 Thes. 4:13).
We thank God who in His love and mercy sent His gracious salvation to the world through the death and resurrection of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ from the dead has sent help to mankind from above against all that troubles his soul on earth and for life hereafter (Luke 1:68-75). God, through the death and resurrection of His only begotten son Jesus Christ from the dead has begotten us again to a lively hope to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not, reserved in heaven for us who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1: 3-5; Romans 8:24-25). This implies that God, through the gift of Jesus Christ to the world, His death and resurrection has provided a glorious safe guard for the believer so that when satan’s temptations, our sinful nature and trials of the world attack us, hope may be an anchor of our soul and provides eternal life. This implies that Jesus is our hope (Col 1:27; 1 Tim.1:1). The Holy Spirit is the One that impacts hope. Jesus as an anchor of hope is sure and steadfast, very strong and immutable (Heb 6:19-20). This hope does not put one to shame or disappoint (Romans 5:5; Psalm 22:4-5; Isaiah 49:23). The purpose the Christian hope serves in securing a believer’s life can best be understood by a ship’s anchor whose purpose is to secure a ship firmly in one place against winds and currents that would otherwise move it off course or endangered it. Therefore the believers must put their hope and trust in God and Jesus alone and nothing else (Psalm 33:16-17; 147: 10-11; 20:7; Luke 12:13-21; 1Tim.6:17).
It is important that we believers maintain our hope in God and in His words and promises always because certain situations such as delay, life’s challenges, discouragement, worry, fear, rejection, tribulations, betrayal and disappointments can make one’s hope weak, wane or lost (Prov. 13:12). We must never lose hope in God no matter what besets us in life. This is because nothing makes anyone become redundant, clueless, sick, heartbroken, useless, downcast and hate life as loss of hope. Moreso, nothing leads one to the pit of despair as loss of hope. Hope is a powerful essence to life, “what oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life” – Emil Brunner. “There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow- O.S. Masden.
Therefore, it is very important we keep hope alive. But how? By maintaining an attitude of gratitude of course! Two glaring things hopelessness reveals are lack of trust and communication with God. However, a man with an attitude of gratitude is one with steadfast faith and trust in God and one that communicates with God always! One that acknowledges and appreciates God giving thanks to God for all things, in all things and in whatsoever he does or says. Such a man can never despair no matter what happens. Because a man who acknowledges, appreciates and thank God for everything and for all things both in the past and in the present will hopefully be trusting God for the future even when it seems bleak and will know that because the God of all grace with whom nothing is impossible to do, is able to do great things even in seeming very hopeless situations as in the case of old Abraham and Sarah and the promised child (Romans 4:17-21).
Be resolved to maintain your faith and confidence in God always, irrespective of your unpalatable present experiences by thanking and praising for His past goodness and faithfulness in your life as the Psalmist did; “Why art thou cast down, o my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance….” (Psalm 42:5-6).
It is good to start your day with thanksgiving, hope, great expectations and positive thoughts and end your day by thanking and praising God (Psalm 92:1-2). Always remember that because Jesus lives and owns the future, no matter how bad things are today, tomorrow is another chance to make things better. Be thankful for your past, present and promised blessings because doing so helps keep hope alive.
GOD LOVES YOU AND SO DO I.