Years ago, I learned what the term “downsizing” meant.
I was working as the coordinator between homeowners and subcontractors for a residential construction company. One day I was told that they needed to cut back their spending so they had to let me go. However, they allowed me to work for them an additional two weeks while looking for a new job. I was my sole source of support at the time so I was understandably concerned about how I would be able to support myself.
A few days later I was praying about this situation as I was driving to work. I suddenly felt the Lord telling me, Don’t worry, child. I’m going to provide you with all that you need and even more! I smiled and immediately sent up a prayer of thanks. I couldn’t wait to see what He had waiting for me.
As I walked into work and picked up my telephone messages, the receptionist had trouble making eye contact with me as she said how sorry she was that I was being let go. I smiled and told her I wasn’t worried about it at all because God had already given me a peace about the whole thing and already had a job lined up for me!
Several minutes later, I heard one of the subcontractors ask how I was doing. In reply, our receptionist excitedly told him exactly what I had related to her.
Later that morning I was driving to a meeting and one of the homeowners waved me down. He and I knew each other well because I had helped him coordinate various additions and changes to his home before he moved in. Not surprisingly he had heard my job was ending and that I was looking for new employment. I nodded at his words and the next thing he did was offer me a job with his company—right there on the spot! The salary would be exactly what I needed plus I wouldn’t have to move. To say I was amazed and excited by God’s quick timing would be stating it mildly!
When I returned to the office after my meeting, I shared my good news with the receptionist who looked shocked. I don’t remember what she said to me, but I know that she was not a believer so this little episode gave me a chance to share my hope in Christ with her.
There are many Scripture passages about hope, so I believe God thinks it is very important to us. Among the many definitions of hope, here are just a few:
- to desire something with confident expectation of its fulfillment;
- a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life—in other words, believing that a positive outcome is possible even when there is some evidence to the contrary;
- to place trust in; to rely on.
This is all well and good, but what is this thing called hope really all about?
What Hope IS
First of all, hope is a choice! God has given us the freedom to choose to have hope or not.
That receptionist all those years ago saw the hope I had in the Lord for the good job He promised me, true. But our ultimate hope comes from and is in God:
- Psalm 33:20: “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.”
- Psalm 39:7: “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”
- Psalm 62:5: “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.”
- Psalm 71:5-6: “For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.”
Jesus Christ is the actual object of our hope because it is in His second coming that the hope of glory will be fulfilled:
- Colossians 1:27: “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
No matter what is happening in our lives, we can rest assured that God is in charge and has everything under control, so:
- Psalm 71:14: “[we] will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.”
There are many mornings when it is very difficult to get going. Chronic pain illness sometimes seems to rule my life, but I try to remember Isaiah 40:31: “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.”
I will admit, though, that sometimes it is difficult for me to remember to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” —Romans 12:12
What Hope is NOT
Most obviously, hope is not discouragement. The Word of God tells us that there is no hopeless situation, no hopeless illness, no hopeless marriage. As I said before, it is up to us to choose to have hope.
Hope is not unhappiness or a feeling of gloom and doom. No matter what is going on in our lives, how can we be unhappy with Jesus as our hope?
Psalm 16:9-11 says: “So I rejoice and am glad. Even my body has hope, because you will not leave me in the grave. You will not let your holy one rot. You will teach me how to live a holy life. Being with you will fill me with joy; at your right hand I will find pleasure forever.”
We as human beings will have times of pain and frustration in our earthly lives but in order not to get discouraged or lose hope, we would do well to remember Lamentations 3:21-25:
“But this I call to mind,and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”
Beloved, as believers in the promise of everlasting life in Christ, “let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” —Hebrews 10:23
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Here are a few more words of hope for you:
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. —Proverbs 13:12