Hope. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary it means to cherish a desire with anticipation; to want something to happen or be true; to expect with confidence. As a noun it is desire accompanied by expectation of fulfillment or someone or something on which hopes are centered. Hope is kind of what gets us up in the morning. What is it that you desire or expect to be true for you today? If you are without hope then your days are probably filled with burden and sadness. What a fun topic, eh?
The reason I want to talk about hope probably comes from the number of people I’ve talked to lately who are losing hope of ever feeling ‘normal’ again. (Fortunately for me, I seldom feel ‘normal’…but that’s another story.) There is so much going on around us that challenges hope! We’ve witnessed drive-by birthdays and graduations, delayed or virtual weddings, and way too many pictures in the news of sickness, death, anger, violence and sadness. Hope is taking a beating. This week’s snapshot is just a frame. I invite you to fill it with what gives you hope today.
So where does your hope lie? I offer you a few suggestions to stir up your hope. First, practice gratitude. Seriously. What is good in your life today? Did you eat? Are you safe? Are you loved by someone and do you love anyone? I could ask you so many more questions to guide you to gratitude but I think you get the picture. You get to choose how you will view your life. Tell me something good…or actually, tell yourself something good. Gratitude is essential to living life with hope.
Also, choose where your brain will hang out. Do you nurture thoughts that are fearful, angry and hopeless? You get to choose how you will think today. I’m not saying be a Pollyanna and ignore the tough stuff of life. Its more a matter of framing the hard parts with hope and then working toward something positive. You may not be able to fix everything around you that feels hopeless, but you can take action today to do things that help others and feed your own soul. Act with hope even if you don’t feel it as much as you’d like.
Think about where your source of hope is grounded. Is it in your money? Your position? Your striking good looks? Pause for a minute and look at the hope that is in you. What is it tethered to? Of course, my very best advice is to anchor your hope in God. He alone is the one who does not change, is not moved by circumstances, and loves way beyond our ability to even understand it. Its been my experience that placing my hope in God grounds me in the face of sickness, death, poverty, sadness, confusion, fear….all the stuff that can make life so hard to live. No, I don’t fully understand him, but I trust him. He is the anchor of my hope.
Here are a few verses to encourage you:
Hebrews 6:18-19 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.
John 16:33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
John 14:1 Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.
Psalm 4:8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.
Psalm 29:11 The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.