One Wed. nite at church we did bible study on Faith. Faith is defined it as trusting, being carried by and convicted by convicted truth. That faith says “jump”; it says I can’t but God can. The natural next phase I believe should be a look at hope.The bible has a lot to say about hope as it did faith. Modern day English or Americanized hope is defined by Wikipedia as “a modern optimistic mindset based on a positive outcome related to event and circumstances in ones life.” That is a huge mouthful.
Psychology says hope germinates or comes to life when there is crisis and that crisis opens us up to creative possibilities – basically hopeful people are like the little engine that could – “I think I can…I think I can”.
We can learn a lot from these descriptions but the truth is that they really don’t describe biblical hope. Biblical hope is deeply grounded and rooted in faith – hope and faith are so closely related that they can’t seem to be separated. It’s not just faith, but faith in God; It’s not just hope, but hope in God.
In modern terms hope is filled with doubt. “I hope it rains”. “I hope I get a raise”. In either of these statements there is a lack of confidence that these things will happen – no assurance. We don’t really believe it is going to rain. We don’t really think that we are getting that raise. So in modern times we hope but our hope is filled with doubt.
Take a look at a great Psalm that talks to us about hope – Psalm 42:5 – Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.
Before we go any further let me ask you this, Is there cause for hope in your life? Is there reason for you to hope? And is that hope worth waiting for?
This single verse we see the Psalmist speaking to his own soul – preaching to his own soul saying, “Why are you downcast?” Downcast literally means bent over; doubled over as in pain or discouraged. Why are you sad and restless? Does that describe you? Why is there so much noise, discouragement and sadness? Why is there so much noise in your spirit?
He doesn’t give in to this feeling of depression but challenges his feelings. Look what he says, ”Hope in God”. Stay close to God. Stay the course of faith. God always comes through now and always. He always comes through. Hope in God – Elohim – Supreme God and Creator…over rulers and judges and angels, every living thing, every inanimate object is under the control of God.
The psalmist preaches to himself and is in danger of slipping into disbelief. He doesn’t feel full of praise at that moment. Yet he still manages to point his soul to the hope and confidence that we have in God. In good times and in bad, I will praise Him.
Spurgen said, “Hope is like the sun, as we journey towards it, it casts the shadow of our burden behind it.” Hope is not found in us or them or things but always found in the Living God.