Why I Didn’t Give Up on Hope
I once held a very dim view of the word “hope”. It sounded wishy-washy to me. If hope was personified, it would be a weak-willed doormat with no opinions of its own. To hope was to foolishly cling to the belief that someone would grant your wish after you threw a couple of coins down a wishing well. “I hope it doesn’t rain,” some might say as they peer out the window to a grey, overcast sky. I read devotionals telling me Jesus is my hope, the cross is my hope and Christ in me the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). But I never really comprehended all of that.
A series of disappointing relationships coupled with the big question, “What am I doing with my life?”, had me buckling under the weight of despair and hopelessness. When I broke up with my former boyfriend, I was terrified of ending up like Patty and Selma (the twin sisters from The Simpsons with their unshaved legs and chain-smoking habit). Except that I would be the New Zealand version, with a million stray cats roaming about my front yard.
The thoughts I aired about my life were so negative, my sister had to impose an “Oops Jar” penalty system, similar to a Swear Jar. Any negative words would incur a $5 fine, which I had to deposit into her Hello Kitty coin box, to be donated to an organization whose values and mission I did not support. It was very painful.
But God, being my Father, would have the final say. One Sunday, my pastor spoke on—you guessed it—hope. Hope, she said, was not a wishy-washy, pie-in-the-sky fancy the world held. When we hope in God, we are anchoring our hope on the sovereign One, the one who never fails (Hebrews 6:19). That got my attention. I felt like God had descended on earth to give me the biggest telling off in my life. It struck me then that I had to change the way I saw hope. Hope is not some weak-willed pushover. No, hope in God, in the one who created the heavens and earth, is strong, secure, steadfast, and confident.
When we hold on to hope, we are holding on to a lifeline which will see us through the storms of life, through disappointment, hurt, and hardship. With hope as the anchor of our soul, we can walk away from the most tumultuous time in our lives, and say, “God, who is hope, has held me.”
As we look at the cross this Easter, we’re also looking at the hope of forgiveness, healing, salvation, and eternal life. So let us cling to this hope, for it will never disappoint.
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I too had experienced disappointments and trials that made me think my future is bleak. I had read that trials are necessary in order for us to strengthen our character, and next to character is hope. Failures and a seemed to be an unanswered prayer makes us resilient. We are like swords forged and molded accordingly to the blacksmith’s designs thru constantly exposing us to extreme temparature. God is good, because we are shaped according to His purpose.
Hi Edwin, thanks for your comment! Trials also allows us to know God better. How many of us cry out to God “Oh, to know You more!” and then wish for an easy life? Are firm friendships forged in the easy times or in a storm? And that’s the same with our God.
It’s comforting to hear about the blessed hope that we have in this life and the next, until the next Sunday in church. but then again we go back to square one. maybe the reason is that we tend to not trust God or His Word. But when things continue to be the same and God seem silent for so long, we begin to doubt if all that we hear about hope is true! I’m trying to hold on but I don’t think I can much longer. it’s comforting to hear that bad stuff that happens to us makes us stronger and God has a plan, but where is God and what is he doing when bad things really happen? And how long will he be silent?
Hi Liji, thanks for your comments. Waiting on God when we are going through difficulties can be one of the hardest ask for any Christian, and I have been in situations (and am still in one) where I am constantly seeking God for breakthroughs, only to be met with silence. It can be disheartening. But the Bible tells us to be strong and courageous, because God is with us, and He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). Of course, the other question we often ask ourselves is why bad things happen to good people. I read a story by Australia World Vision CEO Tim Costello on the 2004 Tsunami “So if God is all-powerful, why did this happen on 26 December 2004? I’m wary of anyone who would profess an answer to this unanswerable question. But I will suggest that God was very active in the hearts and minds of millions around the globe after this event.” God is with us all the time, even if you don’t feel His presence, rest in His promise that He will never leave you nor forsake you.
I stumbled on a number of your articles this night when sleep fail to come. I covet your gift of clarity and expression and style of writing. I am blessed. My the Lord bless your wisdom for lasting impact to His glory. And may He grant your desires with speed. Amen.