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.
His wife of 32 years had died after just a two-month illness. He was stunned. How could he go on? She had done everything for him at home. He didn’t even know how to operate the washing machine or the dishwasher. As he tried to cope with the newness of this situation, he walked into a restaurant to eat. The hostess greeted him with a smile and said “Just one?”…not knowing how that pierced his heart. Then, as he was seated, she removed the other three settings of silverware from the table leaving…just one. This screamed “I’m alone.” All hope was gone.
This was the scenario for my father-in-law several years ago. He vowed to never eat in a restaurant again as it was a too-vivid reminder of what he felt in his heart. Much of the world goes through life with the feeling that there is no hope. They are facing the struggles of life alone.
Our culture has de-valued the word “hope.” We have watered it down to be wishful thinking. “I hope this meeting doesn’t last long.” “I hope it snows.” “I hope it doesn’t snow.” But the Biblical hope is a strong, confident expectation…expectation that God is carrying out what He has promised. Promises that He is always with us…“Emmanuel, God with us.” Promises that when we pass through the waters, He will be with us. (Isaiah 43:2) This means that whatever difficulty, whatever trial we go through, He is there, in the present, going through it with you. You are not taking chemo alone…you are not raising that child alone…you are not unemployed by yourself…God is with you. He is beside you, under you, lifting you up…giving you strength to make one more day. He is giving you hope…not wishful thinking…but confident expectation that God will see you through. In fact, He is in the process of it now. Psalm 62:5-6 states Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. The Message Bible relates it this way: Everything I hope for comes from Him.
Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly…(I Corinthians 13:13,The Message)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. (Psalm 147:11)
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. (Romans 15:4)
God of all hope, help us as we go through these days. Help us to realize we have the assurance of Your promise that we are never alone. Give us strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. We pray in the name of Jesus, who came to bring us hope. Amen.
Johns Creek Baptist Church