Where Can You Find Real Hope?
If you find that you are losing hope, as many are in these troubled times, where will you turn for help? Many people claim they can help you, but again you find that their suggestions are false and contradictory. So why not turn to the one who designed mankind with the capacity for hope in the first place?
"He (God) is not far off from each one of us" (Acts 17:27) and He is more than willing to help. Hope means to wait eagerly for something and to expect good. Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1). Meanwhile, these three remain: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13).
How can you have such hope in God? God is the source of true hope: it is written that God was called Israel's only hope. God gave His people, Israel, a solid base for hope. The apostle Paul wrote: "Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4).
The Bible definition of hope is broader and more profound than the one in common use among today's doctors, scientists and psychologists. Hope, basically, is composed of two things:
1. The desire for something good 2. The basis for believing that good will come
Hope has a solid basis in fact and evidence. The basis for hope is that "not one of all the promises that the Lord your God has given you has failed" (Joshua 23:14). Thousands of years later, that record still stands sharp and new.
What hope does God give? When do we feel the greater need for hope? Is it not when we face death? After all, what could be more hopeless than death? The wise man said, "Anyone who is among the living has hope even a live dog is better off than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing" (Ecc 9:4,5). But the bible also says the last enemy to be destroyed by God is death itself (1 Cor 15:26).
How can we find hope in the face of death? The Bible verses that call death the last enemy, also reveal that God has more power than death. He has proved this on many occasions how? By resurrecting the dead, by raising them to life again. In an outstanding incident God empowered His son, Jesus, to resurrect his dear friend Lazarus, who had been dead for four days, not secretly but openly in front of on-lookers. Jesus, deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. "'Take away the stone', he said", (John 11:38-44). Read the whole of this wonderful account.
You might wonder why people were resurrected. Did they not grow old and eventually die again anyway? They did, yet because of reliable resurrection accounts such as Lazarus, we can have a desire that our dead ones will live again. "Jesus said, `I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me will never die'" (John 11:25.26).
"Jesus said again, 'Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out. Those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned'" (John 5:28,29).
Paul teaches us more about the value of hope. He spoke of hope as a vital spiritual suit of armour. He said, "Since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet" (1 Thes 5:8).
Clinging to that hope can give us the incentive we need to live by God's standards instead of giving in to the chaotic, immoral state so prevalent in the world today. The hope that God offers involves you personally. But each one must have accurate knowledge of the truth. This is good, and pleases God, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. Read 1 Timothy 2:3-6. The hope that God will thereby give you is far superior to any hope you can find in this world. But Paul says again, "We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us" (2 Corinthians 4:7). "I can do everything through him who gives me strength" (Phil 4:13).
My brethren and sisters, each one of us should make every effort to remain in fellowship with God. We have been called to a wonderful hope. Each should live according to the Lord's gift to him, doing all we can to let me word of God direct our steps. You were bought at a price, do not become slaves of men.
Bro Green Mumbelunga (Ndola, Zambia)