One of the greatest problems that we face today is the problem of hopelessness. We are living in a time where the world has never been in a more hopeless condition. Hope is so important, without it we cannot have faith, for faith is the “substance of things hoped for.” (Hebrews 11:1) Hope is the starting point of faith! In Proverbs 13:12 we read, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick,…” Without hope we will become sick, not only in our heart and emotions but it can even affect our physical bodies.
What is hope. The definition of hope in the dictionary is, “a positive expectation.” However, the Biblical definition is far more than this. Firstly: “It is a joyful anticipation that something good will happen in the future.” Secondly: ” Hope is a joyful expectation that our circumstances will change for the better. Thirdly: Hope is to have a positive thoughts about your situation and yourself. The devil wants us to believe, that if we are going through a negative situation, it will never change. Or, if we are experiencing something good, it will not continue. On the other hand, God wants us to know, that He can change any situation and give us hope.
Keys that will enable us to have hope and to increase the level of hope:
Firstly, hope comes when we have the right perspective of God:
In Romans 5:5 we read, “Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” When we really know that God loves us, we will have hope and we will know that God will never let us down. Even if we are going through a difficult time today, there is always something good at the end of the road.
We read in Romans 15:13. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” God is a God of hope, and when we believe this, we will be filled with joy and peace and we will abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit..
God says in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” It is in God’s very nature to do something good for us in the future. No matter what we are going through right now, God’s desire is always to bless us and give us hope for the future. saIn Psalm 23:6 we read, “… surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” This does not mean that we will not have difficulties or problems, but no matter what happens, we will always find God’s goodness and mercy following us.
Secondly, hope comes when we fill our minds with the promises in the Word of God.
We read in Romans 15:4, “… that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” The Bible also says that, “all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” There more we turn our attention away from all our problems and our negative situation, onto the word of God, the more hope we will have.
We read about Abraham in Romans 4:18-21: “Who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, (This means, that when everything was hopeless, he still believed) so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be. And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.”
The word ‘consider‘ in this passage, means to study in depth! Abraham knew that he was old, and that Sarah could not have children, but he chose not to think about it all the time. He chose to focus on what word of God had promised him in Genesis 15:5, where God said to him, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
Similarly, we should not allow the spirit of this world or our circumstances to affect us, otherwise we will lose our hope. So it’s important what we watch, what we read and what we listen to. We should only be influenced by what God has said and what is written in His word.
Thirdly, hope comes through the words that we speak.
We read in Job 22:28, “You will also declare a thing and it will be established for you; so light will shine on your ways.” As we continually speak good positive words, based on the Word of God and according to the will of God, the darkness of hopelessness will leave and the light of God’s hope will shine into our hearts. We need to speak words of hope, even if the situation looks hopeless! We read in Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”
One of the best illustrations of hope is found In Ezekiel 37. It is the story of the valley of dry bones. God shows the prophet a valley of dry bones, and in verse 2 we read that they were, “very dry.” The bones were so dry because they have been there for such a long time! This is true of many of us today, when a negative situation continues for a long time, it seems more and more hopeless.
In verse 3 God said to him, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” He was saying to God, “I don’t think they can live, but God, “You know!” In verse 4 God says to him, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.” In other words, say to these bones, “this is what God says, “you shall live!” Speak life into your hopeless situations! Therefore, we can also speak to our negative circumstances and say to them, “this is what God says….” and say, ” When everything seems hopeless, we need to proclaim the Word of God!
In Ezekiel 37:7 we read that the bones began to move. Therefore, as we declare and proclaim the word of God, something begins to happen in the spirit world, which will begin to change our negative circumstances in the natural world. In verse 9 we read that he spoke the word of God again and the bones became a great army. Therefore, we need to continue speaking God’s word and words of hope until we receive our breakthroughs.
There were once two pastors. They both attended the same Bible school and became pastors. The first pastor was very successful. The second pastor failed a few years later he left his Ministry. The first pastor asked God: “why did this happen?” The Lord said to him, “There is only one reason, it is because of the words that you proclaimed.” He and his wife had developed a regular discipline of declaring positive words over their lives, finances, marriage and ministry.
Fourthly, hope comes when we remember the good things that God has done for us in the past.
We have the example of the children of Israel lost their hope in the wilderness because they did not remember the good things that God had done for them in the past. In Psalm 77:2, we read, “In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord;” So it is obvious that the Psalmist was discouraged and facing a hopeless situation. We then read in verse 6, “I call to remembrance my song in the night;” What is his song in the night? We find the answer in verse 12,“I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.” His song in the night was a song about all the wonderful things that God had done for him in the past. It is a song that he sang when all seemed so hopeless and dark.
We too need to have a song in the night? What is this song all about? It can be a song or a declaration about the good things that God done for us in the past. For example, He has healed our bodies, answered our prayers, blessed us, cared for us and done many wonderful things for us. Furthermore, the greatest reason for having a song in the night, is because we remember what Jesus did for us on the cross. Even though we are going through a night time experience, one day we will be with Jesus in eternity!
In Acts 16 we have the example of Paul and Silas in prison. When all seemed hopeless, at midnight, they began to sing and praise the Lord. God sent an earthquake, the doors of the prison opened, their chains fell off and they were free. When they had a “song in the night,” God changed their hopeless situation. God can change our hopelessness into hope when we too, have a song in the night.
Fifthly, hope comes when we have an eternal perspective.
Our greatest hope is that one day we will have eternal life and be with Jesus. We read in Colossians 1:27: “Christ is in you, the hope of glory.” If Jesus is our Lord and Savior, we will have hope of eternal life. We read in Hebrews 6:18-19 about those “…who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.” No matter what happens to us, we will always have hope, because we have eternal life. When we see things from the light of eternity, we will never lose our hope.
We read in Zechariah 9:12“Return to the stronghold, You prisoners of hope. Even today I declare That I will restore double to you.” The stronghold mentioned here, is the stronghold of hope. It is important that we return to this stronghold and live there, in a place where we never lose our hope. We read that, “I will restore double to you.” They would receive double for that what they had lost because God is a not only a God of hope, but He is also a God of restoration. Hope will open us up to live in God’s abundant blessing.
Therefore, “… may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Amen