Webster’s Dictionary defines “hope” as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” Expectation is directly associated with hope; in fact, without expectation, hope is lost. The child who asks Santa for a new toy for Christmas is driven by expectation to hope that his or her dream gift will be there on Christmas morning. The anxious boyfriend who is planning the perfect proposal is motivated by expectation that his would-be bride will say yes when he picks out a ring.
You could argue that we need hope now more than ever. According to a 2020 study published by USA Facts, 48% of Americans say that they feel “hopeless.” Perhaps that’s because we’ve lost our sense of expectation. With a global pandemic that has wreaked havoc on families, businesses and seemingly every other aspect of life, it’s easy to feel like there’s no end in sight. But before you lose hope, think about these words that Paul wrote to the Roman church:
Romans 6:19 (TPT)
We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God himself. Our anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat which sits in the heavenly realm beyond the sacred threshold.
Paul tells us three things about the Christian’s hope in this verse:
1-It is certain
2-It is unbreakable
3-It is anchored to God himself
As a child of God, we have hope because we have an expectation that God will never forsake or abandon His people. Because of that we have hope for today, hope for tomorrow and hope for eternity.
Hope for Today
While it is certainly important to have hope for a better future, many people are struggling with factors today that leave them feeling hopeless. Before you can worry about the future being brighter, you may need hope for your present.
Romans 15:4 (TPT)
Whatever was written beforehand is meant to instruct us in how to live. The Scriptures impart to us encouragement and inspiration so that we can live in hope and endure all things.
The first thing that Paul points out is that the Word of God is a source of encouragement and hope for the believer. To “encourage” means “to put courage into someone.” If you are facing a seemingly impossible situation, it’s entirely possible that you feel like you have lost courage. The need for encouragement and hope is one of the main reasons that it is vital that we spend time in the Word. The stories in your Bible are more than just stories; they are living examples of God’s faithfulness to His people.
If we are going to “live in hope,” we have to allow ourselves to be filled with God’s Word. Spending time every day reading and studying your Bible allows you to anchor yourself even deeper in the source of your hope.
Hope for Tomorrow
If all of our hope was based on our current situation, it would be easy to feel completely hopeless. Some days just seem dark and it’s easy to begin to feel like things will never get better. David discussed the importance of hoping and expecting a better tomorrow in Psalm 33.
Psalm 33:16-17 (TPT)
Even if a king has the best-equipped army, it would never be enough to save him. Even if the best warrior went to battle, he could not be saved simply by his strength alone. Human strength and the weapons of man are false hopes for victory. They may seem mighty, but they always disappoint.
These verses certainly paint a bleak picture. David points out how the “best warrior” can’t save the king. He points out that even the strongest army is never going to be enough to actually provide peace and security and how hope that is put in the strength of man is false hope which will always leave us feeling disappointed. If David stopped writing here, it would leave us with very little hope. However, he kept going and pointed us to the true source of hope for a better tomorrow in the next verse.
Psalm 33:18 (TPT)
The eyes of the Lord are upon even the weakest of worshipers who love him-those who wait in hope and expectation for the strong, steady love of God
Psalm 33:20 (TPT)
The Lord alone is our radiant hope and we trust in him with all our hearts. His wrap-around presence will strengthen us.
What does it look like to “wait in hope and expectation?” It looks a lot like worship. When we worship, even in the middle of our troubles, we get more focused on our Provider than we are on our problems. Worship isn’t relegated to the songs you hear at your local church on a Sunday morning. Instead, worship is the act of completely submitting every aspect of your life to the God who loves you.
The 33rd Psalm points out that our level of hope for a brighter future is tied to where our confidence is. If we are trusting in our own strength or another person, we will always be disappointed. As Christians, our citizenship is not of this world (Philippians 3:20). While we are called to pray for our government leaders, we are never called to put our hope in them. Instead, our trust is in God alone. If we are trusting in politicians, friends, family and even religious leaders to be our source of provision, we will always be disappointed in the end. However, the “wrap-around presence” of God strengthens us and allows us to live in hope and expectation for a better tomorrow.
Hope for Eternity
Titus 2:13 (ESV)
Waiting for our blessed hope. The appearing of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ.
Ultimately, Christians are able to have hope because we recognize the fact that our eternity is infinitely better than our present circumstances. Paul worded it like this:
2 Corinthians 4:17 (ESV)
For this light, momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.
Our hope is rooted in the fact that we have the promise of an eternity where there will be no pandemics, economic crises, political parties, racial tensions any anything else that divides us. Instead, all of that will be wiped away along with every tear that we cry (Revelation 21:4). Once we get to our eternal home, everything that robs of us our hope will be forgotten. In the meantime, we can maintain hope because we recognize that our worst moments are nothing more than a “momentary affliction” when we compare them to the promises of an eternity spent in Heaven. We have hope because we recognize that the splendor of Heaven is so much greater than any problems we face here that it is “beyond all comparison.”
Child of God, don’t allow the realities of our current society to rob you of your expectation. If it does, you are in danger of losing hope.
A Closing Prayer:
God, I know that you are my only source of real hope. You are fully aware of how troubled our world is right now, and only You know how close I am to losing hope. I ask that you help me to refocus on You and re-anchor my hope in the promises of Your Word. I know that you are my only source of true hope, and hope is exactly what I need right now. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen!