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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

21 Jan '12

The amazing power of hope

Posted by T.J. Addington in encouragement, faith, hope, The heart
In the uncertainties, disappointments, challenges and realities of life there are few more powerful practices than living with hope! As Isaiah writes so eloquently, "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 (Isaiah 40:31)." 


We choose whether we will live in hope or despair, hope or discouragement. God gives us hope, we choose whether we will grab onto it or ignore it. That is Isaiah's point. When in the midst of our discouragements we choose to hope in the Lord, He renews our strength in amazing ways.


In the midst of great disaster, Jeremiah said, "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed (Lamentations 3:21)." And again, "The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him. It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord (Lamentations 3:25-26)."


What is hope? It is not some ill conceived concept of self help that believes that because we hope for something it will come to pass. That is not hope but an empty promise. Hope is grounded in a good God who always has our best interests in mind, always acts in goodness toward us and always provides the encouragement we need in the middle of even the greatest crises. Hope is grounded in who He is. 


Hope is also grounded in the gifts that we have been given in Jesus. Paul writes to the Ephesians, "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (Ephesians 1:18-19)." Our hope is found in Jesus who has made us family and given us the riches of who He is for all eternity.


But what about those times when we seem to be out of hope? When life is hard and hope is scarce? Hope and faith are tied together in Hebrews 11:1. "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." What we hope for are everything God has promised and we have faith that He will deliver on His promises - even when it looks like that is not the case!


Hope is not pretending that life is good when life is hard. Rather, it is knowing that God is present even when life is hard and that is why we have hope. He is our hope - not our circumstances. 


Every day ought to be a day of hope. Hope in the blessings of God, hope in the presence of God, hope in the intervention of God in our lives and hope in the circumstances of life, knowing that God is with us and for us. For the believer, no matter what the circumstance there is hope. Our ultimate hope our assurance of living in His presence one day. Where God is present there is always hope! We may be blind to it, but it is always there!


PS. If you are in need of hope today, the book Mary Ann and I wrote When Life Comes Undone: Walking in Faith When Life is Hard and Hope is Scarce is for you. You will find it on the left side of the blog.