What Is Hope?

hope-quote-6“I always see the Lord near me, and I will not be afraid with him at my right side. Because of this, my heart will be glad, my words will be joyful, and I will live in hope.” (Acts 2:25-26 CEV)

Have you ever been in a situation where God gave you faith and love, but you were losing any hope that things will change for the better as the days, months and years drag on with no sign of it happening (at least in the form you thought it would)?

Some time back I was pondering why Paul wrote, “These three shall remain, faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). In Hebrews we read:

And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 RSVA)

I have no argument with the need for faith. And as for love, oh, what a wonderful gift that is! We all need to be loved and to love those around us. Love is a gift from God–we love Him because He first loved us. What a cruel and lonely world this would be without love. But what about hope? Paul says that we need hope, too! In fact he even says we are saved by hope…

For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. (Romans 8:24-25 KJVCNT)

Faith and love are great, but I had not thought much about our need for hope until I got in what seemed to be a hopeless situation. I had a degree of faith and love. I loved God and had faith that He loved me, but I had lost all hope that God would act on my behalf as time dragged on and things seemed so impossible. As I was praying about my lack of hope, I saw this huge hole in my heart. Yes, there was faith and love there around the edges, but there was no hope to fill in the hole. Hope was the one thing I lacked to have continuing peace and joy in the situation. I had no hope and I felt so hopeless!

How often do we glibly say, “Well, I sure hope so”? But is that real hope? Could it be that hope has substance? The longer I have pursued the Kingdom of Heaven, the more I see that all things eternal have substance. It is the temporary things that are mere vapors that cease to exist. As it says in Hebrews, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” so it is with love and hope. As I thought about hope I saw that hope was also a divine gift from God, not just a positive mental attitude. When I saw Him filling that hole in my heart with hope, His peace and joy started to flow into me again as well. I started to feel faith in a stronger way too. I had never prayed for hope before, but on seeing that even this is a necessary gift from God, I started praying for it each time a hopeless situation presented itself in my life.

As Paul wrote, “These three remain, faith, hope and love,” I believe that in this life we must have all three of them. They must remain as long as we are in this world. It takes all three; faith, hope and love, but as Paul pointed out “the greatest of these is love.” Why? Because once we are truly dwelling in heavenly places in Christ, faith and hope are no longer needed because everything we ever hoped for in faith has come to pass. All we will need to happily live in heavenly bliss with Jesus, our Father and our fellow saints is love. As Paul said, “what is seen is no longer hoped for” and heaven is the result of our faith. God’s great love shed abroad in our hearts is what makes heaven what it is, filled with peace and joy. Paul wrote,

Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. (Romans 5:2-5 RSVA)

 

“There is no end to hope, for there is no end to God.”– Taylor Caldwell, A Pillar of Iron

“Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.”  ~ J. R. R. Tolkien

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33 comments on “What Is Hope?

  1. James says:

    I lost all hope 8 years ago, save for the “hope” that God will (eventually) use me. Were it not for my dreams, I would not even have the faith that he will? (or might?) use me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      James, maybe He gave you those dreams to carry you through until you have hope again. I know that once I saw that it was okay to pray for hope as well as faith and love, I got my peace back again.

      Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7 KJ2000)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lori says:

    Hi Michael – Whenever I hear Christians talk about things like glory, grace, faith and *hope* I want to stop to get a definition. When I was a new believer I learned that Christians use words that other Christians use without checking to see if we hold the same meaning as the other person (how’s that for a convoluted sentence?!) . It seems best to be sure that we mean the same thing when using a word — and it’s always best to define words the way the Scripture defines them. So . . . . the word “hope” — we tend to NOT use it the way God does. The things hoped for in Scripture are not things we wish for or dream about — they are things that are SURE. God has given us the Spirit and the life of Christ living in us — all that He is and has IS ours. For example, our hope of heaven is a sure thing — its an *expectation* that carries the seal of the Spirit.

    I’ve learned two really helpful things in the past couple months. One is that I had not understood the deep, true, valuable meaning of the word “believe.” I do believe — I believe I’m saved, that I’m His, that He has done it all, and so on. I recently heard someone ask this question: what do we have to do to experience the incomparable riches of His grace? (Eph. 1) The answer is rest in what He says is true — “believe.” Suddenly I realized that I wasn’t resting in what He has already provided. When fearful, hurtful things came up I was restless and anxious — not resting — which equals not believing. So, I read (lots of times) through Ephesians and Colossians, and Romans 8 affirming things like Eph. 2:10 and 3:20 (for example).
    The second thing I became aware of was thankfulness — Romans 1:21 lists lack of thankfulness in the ‘wickedness’ list. Oops!
    Now these two things go together for me: intentionally checking my ‘belief meter’ and being purposefully thankful for the riches He has given (and continually gives) which are our “hope’; also for the hope (the surety) of life with Him for all eternity. I have been more able to trust Him and to rest in Him — as long as I stay close to Him. I’m not saying I don’t slip — but I know where to go in His Word to get my necessary spiritual food. These are dark days — don’t you find you need more spiritual food lately? I sure do! He gives us everything we need for life and Godliness — believe it! Take it! Thank Him for it! Peace that passes all understanding comes from believing and receiving — knowing Him intimately — treasuring close fellowship with our friend, the Lord Jesus Christ. Enjoy Him!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Dear Lori,

      Thanks for your reminder of what in means to believe. I think it is the Amplified that describes true belief as when we cling to, rely on and trust in Christ, but resting in Him is certainly part of that. Thankfulness is something that most of us do not have enough of. To God we must sound like Bob in “What About Bob,: pleading with his shrink, “I NEED, I NEED, I WANT, I WANT, GIVE ME, GIVE ME, GIVE ME!” All to many of us are too self focused. This is what I got out of Paul’s prayer, how he was so in love with Jesus that he want nothing for himself, but rather to really KNOW Christ and share in the fellowship of HIS sufferings and be conformed unto HIS death. Now, THAT is love!

      As or spiritual food, I have found that we who are truly His have a table to eat from which they who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. Not all spiritual food comes from Bible reading. God wants us to nurse from His breast and again that comes from resting IN the Father and the Son. When Jesus was encouraged by the disciples to eat He told them that His meat was to do the will of His Father in heaven. Yes, this comes from having an intimate relationship with the Father and the Son.

      Thanks for sharing your insights,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this thoughtful post. You touch on a profound subject, Michael, the question of how Christians should respond to evil.

    During the years that I was an atheist, I considered hope the cruelest of emotions, a mere delusion. That was, for me, a legacy of child abuse. When the Lord found me again, He changed my entire outlook. Only then could I see that He had never abandoned me, at all.

    For the sake of non-believers, I would just like to add this re: Romans 5. As Christians, we may suffer at the hands of evildoers. But we must never be complicit in evil. Christians are as vehemently opposed to child abuse as non-Christians (if anything, more so).

    God bless you, Michael. You are an encouragement to all of us.

    Your sister in Christ,

    A. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Anna, I am familiar with the story of your childhood and know that “Christians,” who knew about your abuse chose to ignore it for the sake of family pride and “unity.” We have seen this happen over and over in the Catholic church as pedophile priests were protected by bishops and even popes by moving them around the world so that they could escape justice and do their evil “in the name of Christ” once again. One does not have to dig very deeply to find abuse of power in the protestant churches as well. The Bible calls this “spiritual wickedness in high places.” How hopeless these child victims must feel when no one believes them and the abusers are protected even in the face of the truth.

      In my case as I prayed, I saw God turn my sense of hopelessness around for me in my heart into hope, even in the face of the “facts.” I know that where things are impossible for us, with God ALL things are possible. Even what He has done in your heart and life, dear Anna, is a testimony of His love and power.

      Dear Father may all who read this blog receive this wonderful gift of hope from you until “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.”

      May His peace and hope abound in your heart as He continues to fill you with His love for those He gives you to reach, my dear sister. Amen.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Susan Moore says:

    When in a hard situation, one that requires a genuine miracle, I am often reminded that God can make a way where there is no way. For me, then, hope starts when I acknowledge that there is NO WAY from here to there. This astounds some folks, when I go through this stage of a problem, as in, ‘Sue! You are being negative! You should not say there is no way to get there!’ Like that. But I persist, pointing out to them that it is in acknowledging my need for God in a situation that things begin to change. In saying, then, that there is no way, I am acknowledging that there is truly no solution unless and until God makes a way. I go on to point out that, in acknowledging the seeming hopelessness of a situation, praying that God will make a way, then trusting Him for that solution, I am truly throwing myself into God’s hands. And then God acts. He will not act till I acknowledge that there is no way. Then it is that heart swells with hope. For when we acknowledge that is only God, then it is only God who gets the glory when the problem is resolved. And there is no better place to be than that.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Wow, Susan!! That was very good advice. ⭐

      Finding myself in such an I-see-no-way-out-situation at the moment, your response was so encouraging to read for me. Thank you very much for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Susan Moore says:

        God once showed me, in a dream, that when we give Him our problems in praise, He sees them as wrapped gifts. That’s how much He loves solving problems for us. ‘Oh, look, a lovely gift from Sue!’ Astounding. We serve an astounding God.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        That is great, Susan Moore. Somewhere it says that God inhabits the praises of His people, but thanking Him for our problems is kind of what Paul said when he talked about the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings but going the other direction. If we are to be IN Him and HE in US, why not? ⭐

        Like

      • Yes, we serve an astounding God, Susan. Thank you for your kind words! 🙂

        Much love to you,
        Susanne ❤

        Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Susan, That was very well said. Too many look at “faith” and “hope” as the power of positive thinking and it is not. You can screw your courage and mind up all you want with positive thinking and never include God into your life and situation. God waits for us to confess to Him that WE can NOT FIX IT! He wants to show Himself mighty in our behalf, but as long as WE are trying to do something in our hopeless situation and not calling out to Him to rule in it, He will not get involved. Or as Paul put it,

      “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God– not because of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 RSVA)

      Or as the saying goes, “Let go and let God.” God will not add His power to the arm of the flesh, so He waits for us to surrender all our cares unto Him. “Cast all your cares [and yourself] upon Him for He cares for you.”

      What a great comment you have shared here, Susan. You are a wonderful friend of many years and I am happy that we are still in contact. God has done such a wonderful work in your life and I know that with God’s help your endurance has produced character and character has produced hope. And everyone who know you, knows you are a character! 🙂 ⭐

      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I am glad God gave you hope as a divine gift in a hopeless situation, Michael.

    It seems to me that God hears all our prayers, however, He nudges us to pray them at a certain time because He wants to answer them only then. In fact, I prayed a similar prayer as to my hopelessness regarding the spiritual situation I have found myself stuck in, yet nothing happened.

    Usually I FEEL when God gives me a prayer to be prayed for so that He might answer it, even beforehand. Nonetheless, in this particular case, He remains absolutely silent. So, from my own experience I would say that an unheard prayer is never God’s failure; it is simply not yet His time to give us what we think we might need now.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Susanne, I know about many of the obstacles in your life and the endurance that God has worked in you through them all. He has worked in you the most wonderful character as you have endured so many sufferings and abuses in your life. Your kindness and love for all, even the animals, totally amazes me. So, dear sister, please know that hope from God is on the way, because character produces hope does not let us remain disappointed. You are in my prayers, dear sister, and that will not change. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  6. dimple says:

    Leaving a comment so I can follow this.
    Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pat Orr says:

    My brother, I had never considered praying for hope, but I will do so. Thank you for the wonderfully refreshing blog.

    Love in Him,
    Pat Orr

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      My dear Pat, I never thought of praying for it either until this happened to me. We pray for faith and love, why not hope? These three remain….
      You are so welcome, my wonderful sister!
      Holy hugs to you!

      Liked by 1 person

    • James says:

      A Christian friend of mine (not at this board) recommended to me to pray for hope last night. I had actually been thinking of doing so for the past few weeks.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        This is wonderful to hear, James. I will be praying with you dear brother. Remember, Hope springs eternal (in God’s eternity in our hearts) so the seeds of hope are already there.
        God bless you,
        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Bernie Orr says:

    For years Ilved in hope for a new understanding of
    the GLORY OF GOD. For months, I have experience
    some of it. So, I am now LIVING IN FAITH about it.
    Ist Thessalonians 5 v 8:; “BUT LET US WHO OF THE
    DAY BE PUTTING ON THE BREASTPLATE OF FAITH AND LOVE, AND AS A HELMET OF SALVA-
    TION.
    Salvation ro my understanding includes: “BORN AGAIN, HEALING, DELIVERANCE AND SANC-TIFICATION. IT IS THE SANCTIFICATION WHERE
    I HAVE HOPE: PHILLIPIANS 1 V 6: “HE WHO
    BEGAN A GOOD WORK IN YOU WILL BE FAITH-
    FUL TO COMPLETE IT UNTIL THE DAY OF CHRIST.
    SO, WE WHO ARE DEVOTED TO CHRIST CAN
    HAVE HOPE TO BE ABLE TO GROW IN OUR KNOW
    LEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST.
    For those who have a problem with depression needs
    to read Psalms 42-43. 3 times this is what he said:
    42 V 5 V 11 & 43 5 “WHY ARE YOU CAST DOWN
    (DEPRESSED) O MY SOUL? WHY ARE YOU DIS-
    TURBED? (HOPE IN GOD!) FOR I SHALL YET
    PRAISE HIM, THE HELP OF MY COUNTENANCE
    (have an attractive facial expression) AND MY GOD.
    As a medical doctor having seen Christians depre-
    ssed when they see me: I always asked them
    to pray these 3 situations.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Bernie, whenever I think about the glory of God I think about what Jesus prayed just before He went to His execution…
      “Father, the time has come for me to be glorified…” I find that seeking glory is in heaven is not what it is to those who are of this world. Be careful what you ask for.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Bernie Orr says:

    It should be : as a helmet: “THE HOPE OFSALVATION”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Bernie Orr says:

    A definition of GLORY” IS: GOD’S CHARECTERISTICS: THE ONES I USE IN MY
    PRAYER WALK IS ELOHIM=CREATER, ADONIA=
    MASTER, EL SHADIA= POWERFUL, JEHOVAHS:
    PROVIDER, HEALER, SHEPHERD, PEACE
    PRESENT= SHAAMA, NISSI= BANNER, SABOATH,= GOD OF MULTITUDES, TSIDCUNA:
    RIGHTEOUS. MCKEDISH= SANCTIFIER,
    ANCIENT OF DAYS, FATHER OF LIGHTS,
    ABBA FATHER, ALPHA & OMEGA lLOVIMG
    KINDNNESS, RIGHTEOUS, JUDGE””
    “to name some!
    JESUS= WONDERFUL COUNSELLOR, PRINCE
    OF PEACE, LION OF JUDAH, LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN, EMANUEL, HIGH PRIEST,SON OF DAVID.
    BRIGHT MORNING STAR! to name some. My
    definition of GLORY : NOW IS EVERY THING GOOD
    THAT THE BIBLE COVERS
    2nd peter 1 vs 2-4 includes: “PARTAKER OF HS
    DIVINE NATURE”

    Like

  11. Bernie Orr says:

    Jeremiah 9 v 24: “LET NOT THE WISE MAN BOAST
    OF HIS WSDOM! LET NOT THE RICH MAN BOAST
    IN HIS RICHES! LET NOT THE MIGHTY MAN BOAST IN HIS MIGHT: BUT, BOAST IN THIS:
    THAT I AM A GOD OF LOVINGKINDNESS, RIGHTEOUS, AND JUDGE!
    These things: I DELIGHT.
    SO, IF GOD DELIGHTS IN THESE THINGS. WOULD
    IT NOT BE REALISTIC FOR HIM TO DELIGHT
    IN THE ABOVE NAMES!?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ken Burgess says:

    Michael,

    Thank you for writing and for posting this. And thank all of you who have commented on it. After I read this post I felt like a man who has been dying of thirst getting a wonderful drink of cool, clear spring water. I read it again and not only has my thirst been slaked but I believe I now have hope. I know you are aware of our situation that has been ongoing for, as my wife says, nearly 40 years. We’ve been married for 37 years. And she’s right. We have had times of refreshing and blessing beyond what most people can imagine but we have also gone through some terrible times with my heart/arterial problems, financial difficulties, business set backs, IRS problems, family situations and most recently due to the Oil & Gas industry in a nose dive, I have closed my business down. And leave us not forget my Sweetie fell and broke her right shoulder a month ago. We are literally trusting our precious Dad for our every day needs. Our phone service has been discontinued and it seems that our household utility bills are continually late and near being turned off. Thankfully HE has moved on brothers and sisters and some family to help us out. We believe God, we have faith and love, at least most of the time but the one thing I have been crying out to HiM for, is hope. My Sweetie lost hope many years ago and until recently I have too. I was unaware of just how crucial “hope” is in this journey until I read this article. Like you, I believe God loves me. Most of the time I believe I’m walking by faith and not by sight, but hope? Not so much.

    Sweetie and I were finishing our lunch and I read this to her and after I finished reading it I prayed for our Father God to “renew/restore our hope and to fill the ‘hole in our heart” with HiS hope. And you know what? I believe he has. During this entire time He has called us deeper into HiS heart by increasing CHRiST and decreasing us. I have no more confidence in my abilities to fix anything, but instead I find myself continually falling back to my default setting into HiM.

    Through all of this the one constant has been, thankfulness. I refuse to be unthankful. I have learned that the greater the need the more I thank HiM. And my attention is less on the temporal and more on the eternal. Many times a day I cry out to HiM for, “HiS will to be done in earth as it is in Heaven.”

    Greet Dorothy with a big ole hug from us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Ken B., First off I read your comment to Dot and she was blessed to find out that what I wrote (and she edited) was a blessing like this for you. You two have been through so much, no doubt, but I believe that we are never out of line to ask our Daddy to give us the gift of hope that we might endure His refining process and not give up. I think that if we could just see our temporal situations from HIS heavenly eternal perspective (for He knows our end from the beginning and we know that ALL things work together by His grand design for the good of those whom He calls according to HIS purpose). Yes, the process we go through in getting us there is not fun, but He makes sure that He does not lose any of the gold or silver that is in His refining fires and that only the dross is skimmed away. I hope you can relate to my next blog in this regard.
      God keep you both in His etermal care,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Ken Dawson says:

    Wow Mike once again your article brought about some great comments from your readers and I got a lot of encouragement by reading them–I believe its a good idea to ask Father to give us His hope.I know for a fact that I live by His faith and His love so why not His hope.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Amen to that, Ken D. That is exactly what I concluded. Why it has taken me so long to get here is beyond me, especially when I consider that ALL good gifts come down to us from the Father of lights. And then Paul wrote that these three remain, faith, hope and love, so why not ask? I know that I could not conjure up believing faith. That was a gift from God and the love that He poured into me was so strong for EVERYONE that I knew that it was not some mere sentimental feeling of my own. Then He showed me HIS hope when I was in despair and I was able to relax and put everything back into His hands and wait in His peace for Him to act. It was so graphic when it hit me!
      I am glad that you some encouragement from these dear saints who write on here as well. What a family we have in Christ! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Allan Halton says:

    Michael, it is vital to realize that, as you said, real hope has substance. An earthly hope– “I hope it doesn’t rain”– might or might not come to pass. But spiritual hope, God-inspired hope, is sure, is certain. For it enters within the veil where Christ Himself has, on our behalf, already entered (Heb. 6:13-20). Has Christ entered within the veil? Is He there? Yes. Our hope is that certain, then. “Lord Jesus Christ our hope” (1 Tim. 1:1).

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Allan, thanks for sharing this. Very good! “Jesus Christ our hope!” This passage out of Hebrews says it once again that our hope is in Christ who has entered in through the veil who makes intercession for us before the Father. And not only that but we, too, may now boldly enter into the presence of the Father’s throne of grace with Him.
      God bless you, my brother!

      Liked by 2 people

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