How often does the world get you down? I bet on a daily basis. Does the fact that there are literally dozens of wars going on at any one time on our earth get you hopeless for future peace? How would you like live in war torn Israel? How would you like to raise a family there? The fact that people find more and more ways to kill each other? Like the Boston Marathon bombing this last spring, for example.
Does the deterioration of the values of our country repel you? Does the fact that our nation is more concerned with saving whales and manatees than saving unborn children get you sick to your stomach? (over 73 million abortions in the U.S. and counting since Roe vs. Wade, 1973)
Does the ineffectiveness of our government leaders make it seem like our country is beyond repair?
Yes, disappointment bombards us on a daily basis. Dreams are dashed. Jobs are lost. Enron debacles occur. Our bosses get us down, even our friends and family do. Circumstances that we have absolutely no control of get us down. Like that tornado, flood, fire, bankruptcy, or earthquake. You may even say, I didn’t ask for this kidney stone, or whatever it may be– mental illness, scoliosis, heart attack, paralytic stroke, or a child born with autism or Fragile X Syndrome.
Let’s not forget. We let ourselves down too , don’t we? Especially under stress. We give into temptation. We battle self-centeredness, greed, smugness, and being in control. Downright hopeless at times, isn’t it, if we look to ourselves for absolute integrity? I’m shocked sometimes by the sinful thoughts that I have day to day. We need some mighty armor on in the battle. (Ephesians 6; more on that later)
James Taylor, famed story teller and folk singer, sang about an answer for life’s trials (he was a known heroin addict in his youth). Remember the song he made famous, “Up on a Roof”? “When this old world gets me down”…. “I go up on a roof, and there I won’t be bothered”. Really? Is that all there is to handling the stresses of life? The song (written by Carole King) got it right by adding that the “stars put a show on for free” on the roof. But it’s not the stars, it’s the star Maker!
As a doctor, my entire day is searching for anecdotes to my patient’s medical problems. And we can fix a lot of broken problems, believe me, but some predicaments are unfixable. Like my Dad’s miserable dementia, or my patient’s paraplegia from an injury that he sustained diving into shallow water. Terrible diseases, and I can’t fix a thing about them.
Throughout the Scripture, God tells us that our present world is unfixable. It’s simply hopeless, left on its own. And I’m not a pessimist!
Having hope in your plans for your life may very well be dashed at any time.
But our God of hope, in His great love for our broken world, gave it the perfect anecdote. Jesus, His Son, is that Someone who you can hang your hope on whenever or wherever! Yes indeed, you CAN have hope while living in this seemingly hopeless world. God, in His sovereignty, has a plan for us!
Just what is Hope? 1 Corinthians 13:13 Faith is the primary foundation and content of God’s message; hope is the attitude of reliance and trust, whereas love is the action. When our faith and hope are in line, we are free to love completely because we understand how God loves.
Hope is your anchor– Hebrews 6:19-20 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure, Jesus Himself. He keeps us secure in times of trouble. You will have many storms in your life. Anchor yourself in Him, the Great Rock of Ages.
Hope in our future salvation allows us to love others– Colossians 1:5 “Faith and love spring up from hope that is stored up for you in heaven. Because we know that our future destination and salvation are sure, we are free to live for Christ and love others.”
The truth of the Bible gives us hope– Romans 15:4 “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Amen.
The Holy Spirit fills us with hope– Romans 15:13 “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.” Yet another benefit of our paraclete, the Holy Spirit.
We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God– Romans 5:2b– “We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” Yes, God is molding you constantly in the palm of His hand. He takes that sometimes hardened clay and shapes it into something beautiful.
The Resurrection gives us hope– Romans 8:24-25 “We have hope in the resurrection, and we must be patient, waiting for God’s plan to unfold. If no resurrection, there is no hope!”
Hope gives us boldness to be a witness– 2 Corinthians 3:12 Therefore, since we have such a hope (in the Lord), we are very bold. 2 Timothy 2:25 “There will be unbelievers who oppose you; you must gently instruct them; in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses.” 1 Peter 3:15b-16 “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Work on your “attitude of hope” day by day. 1 Timothy 4:10 “We labor and strive to put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.” “Each day, put on your new self…” Ephesians 4:24
We pray that others would have hope– Ephesians 1:18 Paul prayed for the Ephesians that, “The eyes of their hearts may be enlightened in order that they may know the hope to which He has called them..
A warning about hoping in the wrong things– 1 Timothy 6:17 “Don’t have an arrogant attitude if you have money; it’s better to be rich towards God. Putting hope in wealth is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God is the key, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment!”
Maintain hope for the “Rapture” and the Second Coming– Titus 2:13-15 “There is a “blessed hope” for all believers that we could be caught up to meet Christ in the air at any moment.”
Bottom line: God knew that we would need hope in the world that we live in, so He gave us Jesus, the perfect remedy for hopelessness.
Next Week: “They Will Know We are Christians By Our Love”
Reference: Life Application Bible, NIV version