My friend, Mary Ann told of a particularly bad asthma attack that left her low. Feeling helpless made her feel hopeless as well. Always a person with an inquiring mind, Mary Ann got out her dictionary and looked up the word “hope”.
Her research uncovered several important truths. First of all, she found that “hope” contained two distinct elements: expectation and desire. And secondly, she discovered that a loss of either one of these ingredients (either expectation or desire) could lead to a loss of “hope”.
The Bible has many accounts of people that lost hope. The story of God’s promise to Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation is a familiar one. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, laughed when the angel announced that their promised son would arrive within the year. Though she desired a son, she had long ago lost the expectation that God would fulfill that particular promise. Desire without expectation equals loss of hope.
After Moses led the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, and the first flush of freedom was over, the people began grumbling. “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt. There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted,” (Isn’t this the same group that was starving and being worked to death only months earlier?) “but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Exodus 16:2-3 NIV. The people of Israel expected they would continue to be free; they had just lost all desire to do so. They no longer wished for the new life facing them. Expectation without desire also equals loss of hope.
The journey to a rediscovery of hope is beautifully told in the book of Ruth. It’s the story of, Naomi, who journeys with her husband and two sons to Moab because of a drought in their homeland. Naomi’s husband and sons die in Moab, the country in which they had hoped to find a better life. Totally bereaved, Naomi returns to her homeland, bringing her daughter-in-law, Ruth, with her.
Her friends and neighbors, happy to see her, exclaim, “Naomi’s home!” But she responds without joy. “Why call me Naomi?” she rebukes them.” (Naomi means “pleasant”.) “The Lord has brought me back empty.” Naomi did not expect life in her homeland would be any better than it had been in Moab.
But Naomi’s daughter-in-law, Ruth, comes back from gleaning in the field of Boaz, and tells Naomi a wonderful story of how kindly Boaz, a relative of Naomi’s husband, has behaved toward her. Naomi catches a glimmer of hope. “The Lord has not stopped showing His kindness to the living and the dead”
Ruth later marries Boaz and they have a son, Obed. The women of the village exclaim, “Praise be to the Lord who this day has not left you without a kinsman redeemer.” And “Naomi has a son.” Ruth 4:35 and 37 NIV
Hope is rekindled. Naomi’s life takes an unbelievable twist. This woman, whose only living relatives were two distant cousins, (on her husband’s side--- cousins-in-law?) finds a new reason to live. “Naomi has a son.”
For the Christian, knowing God has plans for the future can be enough, even when things seem hopeless from a human perspective. Ultimately all hope comes from God. The Psalmist proclaims, “The eyes of all wait upon thee, Oh Lord.” Jeremiah, God’s prophet under great persecution during the dark days of Israel, explains what sustains him;
“But this I call to mind and therefore have hope. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion’; therefore I will wait for Him. Lam 3:21-23
The psalmist agrees: “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope.” Ps 130:1
Perhaps the key word here is “wait”. Waiting on the Lord can mean waiting for hope to revive. Because of God’s great love for us in Christ, we can know He has a plan for us, and we can steadfastly believe in that plan even through the dark times. We are heartsore no more.
Expectation plus desire equals hope. And expectation brought into line with God’s plan plus desire according to His will equals a lively hope that springs eternal in the trusting Christians’ heart.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.