It is not uncommon today to hear in the media or from those around us that things seem hopeless or to hear comments about someone having lost hope. Whether it’s dealing with a natural disaster, the United States economy, or a sundry of other challenges that exist in our world today, there are people all around us who are struggling to maintain hope. Using the word “hope” in an acrostic I want to share with you what I believe to be a sure fire formula for having hope even in times like these.
Heavenly Father is the first and foremost part of this formula for without him there is no real hope. Psalm 62:5 tells us “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.” Scripture makes numerous references to how God’s desire is to provide us the strength to endure and maintain hope even in difficult times. Isaiah tells us “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” What an incredible word picture this passage depicts. Many around us need their strength renewed so that they can soar like eagles instead of scratching with the chickens.
Obedience is a critical part of the formula. Far too often we hear Brothers in Christ use the word “sacrifice.” God does not command us to sacrifice but He directs us to be obedient. Sacrifice implies that we are giving up or losing something we value yet, in reality, we gain everything from the sacrifice that God made for us through his son Jesus Christ. When we are obedient it reflects our desire to be pleasing to the One who provided the free gift of grace to pay our sin debt.
In the book of 2 Corinthians scripture tells us “men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ.”
Prayer is second only to the “H” (Heavenly Father) in our formula for having hope in any circumstance. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 it tells us “pray continually.” It is the way we stay connected to our Heavenly Father and through prayer He provides us the guidance and direction we need to stay on course. “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Endurance is the final part of our formula. “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.” Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines endure as “to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding.” Hebrews gives us a great understanding of what God means by this word when it says; “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” It is through endurance that we demonstrate what Peter describes when he says “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Not only does Jesus Christ provide us eternal hope through our personal relationship with Him, hope is readily available to His followers on a daily basis. Because of the hope only He can provide, even in the most difficult of times, we must demonstrate to those around us the hope that comes from a personal relationship with the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Brothers, it is time we stand boldly and courageously demonstrating to those around us the hope upon whom we base our lives and our eternity.