by Nancy Missler
of Life Authors
One of the emotions that I experienced
more than any other going through my own night season, besides the
feeling of abandonment, was the feeling of
When everything around me crashed and totally
contradicted all that "I" thought the Lord had promised, instead of my
faith becoming "sight" and giving me hope, I became disappointed,
resentful and then even bitter towards God. Itís a horrible place to be,
because in this state, weíre unable to move forward, and yet, we canít
turn back either. Hope in God is critical. As Scripture says, "Where
there is no vision [or hope for the future] the people perish..." and
"hope deferred makes the heart sick." (Proverbs 29:18; 13:12)
An example of this can be seen in the two disciples on
the Emmaus Road who thought Jesus was going to redeem Israel and bring
in the new kingdom. Instead, Jesus had been crucified and they were
crushed and disappointed. As they walked together, they said to Jesus
(not recognizing Him), "We hoped that it would have been He who..."
(would built the kingdom, etc.). (Luke 24:17-21)
Other Scriptural examples might be: The Jews in
Lamentations 4:17, who looked for help "that never came." And David, in
Psalm 42:3, where his friends and acquaintances made fun of him and
taunted him, by saying, "Where is [your] God?" He made the mistake of
listening to them and ended up in despair. "My tears have been my meat
day and nightÖ." Finally, in verse 5, he remembers that God is where his
hope and faith ought to be. And, he says to himself, "Hope thou in God;
for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance."
Why is hope so important? Romans 8:24 gives us the
answer. It says, "We are saved [delivered, protected, healed, preserved,
made whole] by hope." And, Hebrews 6:19 tells us that "hope is the
anchor of [our] soul."
What exactly is hope? Itís the anticipation of
something or someone. Itís a desire that is accompanied by confident
expectation. It means looking forward to something, some occurrence,
some condition, some prospect, etc. Itís an anticipation of future
events that combines certainty and tension. This is shown in Romans 4:18
when Paul refers to Abraham as one "Who against hope believed
Our hope, as Christians, can only be in God and His
Word. We must constantly have
hope in God, even when it contradicts all that is happening in the
present moment. Since Scripture tells us that itís impossible for
God to lie, either God is who He said He is (and will
perform what He has promised), or Heís not. There is no in between. We
must choose to believe one way or the other. Itís impossible to live in
means doing exactly thatóliving in the middle
(halting between two opinions)! Hope in God is simply the freedom
from wanting anything or anyone but God. This is why Paul tells us
that we are "saved" by hope.
To the one who loves God, hope is promised and
is demonstrated by a new strength. "They that wait upon
[hope in] the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with
wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall
walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)
The word "wait" here means "to literally bind
together by twisting." Hope is the anticipation of all Godís promises
being fulfilled and, yet, while we are waiting for them to be fulfilled,
binding ourselves together with Him so that we become "one."
Hopeóconfidence that God will do as He saysómust be
the anchor of our soul.
Abraham demonstrates this when he
"staggered not at the promise of God though unbelief, but was strong in
faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that what He had
promised, He was able also to perform." (Romans 4:20-21)
Hope in God is the opposite of disappointment.
With God, there is always hope in the end!
Paul and James, the brother of Jesus, evidently felt
this way. "Brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers
temptations [various trials]." (James 1:2) Paulís joy and confidence
throughout Corinthians, Philippians and Colossians came from the Holy
Spirit. And, because God the Holy Spirit was always present, Paul could
be joyful and of good cheer all the time. This meant that to Paul,
disappointment, despair and discouragement were unnecessary. He felt
that to submit to these things would be to dishonor his Lord, who
delights in maintaining an unbroken fellowship with him.
We are to look at things in the same way. We are
not to look at the things which are seen, but at the things which
are not seen, the "eternal things."
If our gaze falls from heaven
to things around us, however, then there is much to be discouraged about
and defeated by. But, as Paul and James discovered, if we are engrossed
with eternal things, then we can walk on firm and stable ground, always
finding confidence and joy in Godís abiding presence. When we take our
eyes off the Lord and look at the waves beneath us, we will surely be
engulfed and consumed.
Our human existence is not determined by the
acceptance of the present or by the recollections of the past, but
solely by the expectation of the future.
People without a purpose or a goal or a vision do "perish" as Proverbs
29:18 tells us. This is why our heart often becomes sad when our hope is
deferred. Hope not only extends in this life, it also implies a future.
Hope comes as a result of patience. As Romans
5:3 says: tribulation brings forth patience, and patience
brings forth experience, and experience hope. When our hope is
fixed on God, it will secure our future expectations.
Copyright 2006, Ankerberg Theological Research Institute