“Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom 5:5). This verse sounds real pretty when you aren’t living in the midst of a pandemic. But what about when your world feels like it’s falling apart? How can this love of God deal with the disappointment, hurt, and confusion you’re feeling?
We recently celebrated Easter. The foundation of this hope rests in the fact of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Apart from him, there is no hope; there is no true love. As straining as it may feel to keep our eyes on him during this time, it can feed and refuel our hope. Truly, there was a time when we were without hope and without God, but as Christians, all that changed (Eph 2:12–13). Because of Jesus, we can live as hopeful people as we hear, see, and experience the hardships of coronavirus (1 Pet 1:21).
The New Bible Dictionary describes hope as “expectation of future blessings at present invisible.” This is one of the best definitions of hope I’ve ever heard. I believe the following verses capture it well. Let these Scriptures water your soul:
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. (Ps 25:5)
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. (Ps 31:24)
May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you. (Ps 33:22)
“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. (Ps 39:7)
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Ps 42:11)
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. (Ps 62:5)
You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, (Ps 65:5)
Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. (Ps 119:49)
My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word. (Ps 119:81)
Refocusing Our Hope
What are you hoping for? Has your hope waxed or waned due to present uncertainties? Who or what is eroding your hope? Does the picture of the world around us have you paralyzed in fear and anxiety, wondering what will happen next? These are questions we all should ask ourselves—and answer honestly. Take time today or this week to bring these questions before Jesus.
Left on our own, we could find ourselves plunging into hopelessness, despair, doubt, or fear. These kinds of times test us to the core of who we are in Christ. Thankfully, he welcomes us into his presence when things are feeling so good and when we feel confused or afraid.
The one who invites us to come as we are is the God of hope. He is the only one who can fill us with joy and peace in believing. When he fills us, we are able to abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Father was quite mindful that in this life, we would not be able to conjure up hope on our own. He, through the power of the Holy Spirit, does that for us (Rom 15:13).
So today, I don’t know what you are facing, but God does. He wants to meet you in the reality of the finished work of Jesus Christ, the gospel—our hope. Let him meet you there and, if necessary, seek out others and let them help you as well. Sometimes our hope lags the most when we don’t feel loved or cared for in the midst of trouble. And sometimes our pride will get in the way when we need loving care from others. I pray that you will get to know Jesus on a whole new level. May you carve out time to hear his voice speaking ever so gently and tenderly to you. May his Spirit soothe and care for your soul as you look, hope, and rest in him.
When part of our story ends abruptly, loss, grief, and confusion follow quickly after. Probably no one is feeling this more acutely right now than college students. What do you do when life ghosts you?
Sometimes it can help to have a prayer that’s already been written and to pray it in community (even if it has to be online community right now). Here’s one prayer you can pray aloud with others to help spur you on to pray more.