“No hope!” That’s what the report stated so authoritatively. A young mother, tears in her eyes and a catch in her voice, handed me the educational psychologist’s report. In her heart she can’t believe her bright-eyed, healthy looking eight year old cannot learn.
“With God there’s always hope,” I answered.
A smile flicked across her face as she said, “Do you really believe that?”
Our world is no longer like the old song where “. . . seldom is heard a discouraging word.” The newspaper overflows with depressing articles. The economy never seems to have an up-swing and election campaigning becomes more negative everyday. The world is only expressing what’s in their hearts, for they are “without hope and without God in this world.” (Eph. 2: 11-12)
“Only the Christian can be an optimist regarding the world. Only the Christian can cope with life. Only the Christian can regard death with serenity and equanimity,” wrote William Barclay.
Our hope comes from God alone. In Rom. 15:13, Paul says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
This is not empty-headed optimism. This is not a Pollyanna view of the world. Hope is a positive expectation in God.
What kinds of things steal our hope? Since God is a God of hope, He must be trying to give us hope. If our hope is small or lacking, we must in some way be stopping the flow of hope from God.
When we are in rebellion against our Heavenly Father, we can’t receive His provision for peace and hope. Can a PW ever be in rebellion against God? As long as we are in the world, we are capable of rebellion.l If God is telling us to move on to another field or take a new step of faith and we are resisting, we can’t know God’s peace and hope. When we turn and repent, we find Him merciful and ready to fill us with hope and the grace we need to make the necessary changes.
Past failures can whisper repeatedly in our hearts, “Here I go again! I will fail again.” As long as we are depending on ourselves to succeed, like little children demanding, “I can do it myself!” we will fail. God is waiting for us to look up and say, “Father, I cannot do this. Will you help me?” He willingly supplies what we need to succeed. Our hope for success must focus on our Heavenly Father.
Unrealistic expectations can sap hope from the most active PW. We think we should be able to get as much done on the field as we would at home. We forget the tropical heat, congested roads, nonchalant attitude of the locals and activities of daily living that take more time. Realistic expectations come from God’s wisdom in our lives. James tells us that if we lack wisdom we need only ask and He willingly supplies our need. Perhaps the Lord would show us activities He would like us to cut out of our schedule or someone able to come along side us to help.
Fear, like a chilling fog, hides hope from our hearts. When we allow the advise of worldly experts to cloud our vision of God’s promises, hope fails.
The Psalmist cried, “Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psa. 27:1) When we remember His Word and stand on it, the fog begins to clear and our hope returns.
Hope, like a sedative, calms our fears. But it is also like adrenaline. Hope energizes us and gives us the encouragement and strength we need for daily living. We need to be full of the hope that only God can give us. As we feed on His word, He will satisfy us with hope. “The Lord delights in those who fear Him and who put their hope in His unfailing love,” (Psa. 147:11)
“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.” Hope is the NIV translation for the word “wait” in the KJV. The Hebrew word carries the intention of waiting with eager anticipation. It is a good translation with a good message. When we eagerly anticipate the Lord and all He can do in any situation, our strength is renewed. We will soar and run and walk.
As Peter says, “He has given us new birth into a living hope. . an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade.” (I Pet. 1:3-4) This hope is not stagnant! It is living and grows more beautiful in time. It can never die or be ruined or diminish!
Our hope is in God. Let’s let Him energize us with His hope. And let’s be women who never speak a discouraging word, but fill the ears and hearts of those around us with hope! Hope is contagious, a good infection. If you have it, you can give it; if you don’t, catch hope today! Catch it from your time with God. Catch it from a positive Christian who has seen their hope fulfilled. Catch it from God. Then infect everyone you can!