You asked: How do you have hope when situations seem hopeless or where the odds are against you? What verses do you go to?
“Hope” is a word that we use a lot of different ways. We express desires: I sure hope we have salmon for supper. We describe sports: This player is the hope of all Dodger fans. We critique the behavior of an acquaintance: He’s a hopeless case.
Emily Dickinson even wrote a poem about hope. I studied this poem in high school in a unit on meter. Forever, Ms. Dickison’s charming little poem is now set in my head to the tune of “Chim Chimney” from Mary Poppins. Try it with me:
Hope is a thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings a song without the words
And never stops at all...
Is hope flighty and hard to hold on to? Where does it come from? And what verses do I go to?
The book of Hebrews gives a number of challenges to believers to hold on to hope. If you remember the context, the Author is writing to a group of Hebrew Christians who had been ostracized from their community because of their believe in Jesus as the Messiah. The readers were in pretty rough situations: they had lost their homes, family members, and identities and were beginning to ask the question, “Should we just give up and go back to Judaism?” The Author challenged them not to give up hope, because following Jesus is better than what they had just left. Here are some of the reasons to hope:
Jesus is better than Moses. Moses was special, but Jesus was more so, and we can hold fast to that. We can be confident when we look at the life and work of Christ that He is our hope.
Having hope isn’t just a flighty feathery thing, as a matter of fact, it take a bit of work. The author commended the readers for their hard work, and encouraged them to keep serving the saints and show their love for God through serving. As a result, they would have confidence that better things were to come. Stay the course in hope.
Why could the readers have hope? Because God keeps His promises. He doesn’t lie. And as a result, we have entrance to the throne room! The presence of God with His people bring great hope.
Through whom is the readers’ hope? Through Jesus who is the better high priest. It is Jesus who provides the opportunity to draw near to God. To this point, no one could approach Him, but Jesus made a way. This is great hope for now and for the days to come!
What is the strength of this hope? We are forgiven by God, and we have confidence to enter the presence of God. We are challenged to hold fast our hope of the forgiveness, presence, and strength of our God because He is faithful. You have hope because what he says is true. You cannot believe in God and be without hope—no one who is a child of God can ever be hopeless, can never be “God Forsaken.”
So what do we do with our hope? Sit at home and listen to it sing sweetly of days to come? No! We wear it as a robe of confidence. We meet with one another, challenge one another. We serve, hold fast, enter the Throne Room.
Jesus provides us hope, and its not nebulous. Indeed, Jesus Himself IS our hope.
When Edward Mote wrote this beloved hymn in the early 1800’s, could he have been reading Hebrews?
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
In Him, my righteousness, alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
As the Author of Hebrews was reminding the readers: All other ground is sinking sand.