What is hope?

“Whatever was written beforehand is meant to instruct us in how to live. The Scriptures impart to us encouragement and inspiration so that we can live in hope and endure all things. (Romans 15:4, TPT)”

Hope. The opposite of despair. I know despair well. There have been many days when I felt as if Despair had become my friend. I had no energy, no joy, and wanted only to curl up in the darkest corner I could find. Well-meaning friends would say, “There is always hope. Hang onto that.” I’ve even said that myself! Hope seemed to be intangible, something that I talked about, sang about, but did not fully understand. Hope. It sounds beautiful, but what is it?

I became a Christian when I was 18. I was not in church, no Christian evangelist witnessed to me. I was alone, about to be a single mother, and doing my best to survive the life I had chosen to live. Hope. I picked up a book and started to read. There is hope. Again I read. Do you want to have hope? I followed the directions in the book, heaven opened for me, and I met my hope – Jesus. I can’t explain it, but it happened.

Hope. I still didn’t get it. Up and down, dark and light, my life continued to move forward. I wanted to know the answer – what is HOPE?

The dictionary defines hope as a feeling of expecting something to happen. In the Bible, it is the confident expectation of seeing what God has promised. Aaron Ruchti, a former atheist, describes hope as “unseen faith in God’s promises.” Did I have that kind of faith? How could I understand hope if I didn’t believe that God had good plans for my life? I felt cursed, like I would forever hang my head in shame. I had to find my own understanding of hope. What did it mean to me?

Hope. The Bible tells us that we are not alone. “…the Lord your God goes with you, He will never leave you or forsake you. (Deut. 31:6, NIV)” Good thing number one. I was not dead. I knew that at least one person really cared about me, because I was still alive. “He rescued me, because His delight is in me (Psalm 18:19, TPT)” Good thing number two. I began to see that there was a possibility that things could get better. It was like a sliver of light shining through the dark clouds before me. Chris Masterson describes hope as “being able to see the light through all the darkness.” Little by little I started to understand. Things can get better someday – God will not leave us in the dark. Chris is my son, in recovery, and a beautiful example of life- changing hope.

Hope. It is what keeps us alive, gives us a reason to wake up every morning, and a reason to move forward in life. Hope gives us the endurance that we need in order to survive the curveballs that life throws at us. Hope. It is my life. It is the essence of the God that I know and love.

I realize, even as I write this, that some of you do not know hope. It has been a difficult road, and you have not found your good things. Let me leave you with this thought –

it only takes one beam of light to break through the darkness. It is scientifically impossible for darkness to exist where there is light. Jesus is your light. He will NEVER go away! His love for you keeps Him here. It is here for you. Hope.

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