By Jeremy Blum
World wars, natural disasters, global pandemics, family challenges, personal struggles and tragedies – you name it. There are so many things that present the opportunity to lose hope. Hopelessness renders us a victim, and actually colours our perspective of life, turning our rose-tinted glasses into sunglasses. It makes it hard to believe that you can have hope again.
I want to encourage you that we have reason for hope (1 Peter 3:15)! I present for your consideration three big causes for us to be full of hope regardless of circumstances.
- The Nature of God
The answer to the question “Who is God?” affects the very nature of life itself, and the first thing you need to know about God is this: God is GOOD(1 Chron 16:43).
In fact, He is perfectly good all the time(1 John 1:5).
Furthermore, as we read Genesis 18:25, we see that God’s goodness is also objective and knowable. Apparently with God’s approval, Abraham says “Far be it from you to do such a thing… Will not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?”, which assumes that the Judge’s rightness has to do with what He does. This does not mean that what God does is called “right” simply because He’s God – and who’s going to argue with Him. The truth is rather that God always chooses to do what is right. Furthermore, Abraham thinks that mere mortals like him can know what God’s righteousness looks like. Abraham makes a definite, specific statement: “Far be it from you… to kill the righteous with the wicked”.
Here’s an important statement to follow this up: God’s goodness, looks like goodness (Is 5:20). Continuing on this track, it’s knowable not just academically, but experientially. As it is written, “Taste and see that the LORD is good.” (Psalm 34:8) This is because goodness in the context of relationship is love, and God made us for loving relationship with Himself as our Heavenly Father.
There was a period when I thought, with sadness, that God was almost always in the background and I couldn’t have a substantially experiential relationship with Him. I had a picture in my head of Him as a parent who was a good provider, but largely absent. I longed for what I referred to as “legitimate, mutually interactive relationship”.
Thankfully, over the past nine years God has taken me on a journey of beginning to experience, to encounter Him in various ways. He has enabled me to feel His presence and I’m learning to recognize His voice in different ways. It’s not merely a matter of feelings: it’s wonderful because it’s Him! I’m actually getting to know Him, and that has been transformative.
Now I’m getting to know in my heart what I already knew in my theology, that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). He doesn’t just have love, He is love. Everything about God, even his justice, flows out of love.
Matthew 7:11 says “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” If our perfectly good loving Father wants to give us, His children, good things, then we can, with real hope, say with David: “I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)!
- The Promises of God
In 2 Corinthians 1:20 it says “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.”
So, what are some of God’s promises?
- SALVATION (Rom 10:9) (Everlasting Life, now that’shope!)
- Peace (Phil. 4:6-7)
- Wisdom and Guidance (James 1:5)
- Protection (Psalm 91:9-10)
- Strength and Enablement (Phil. 4:13)
- Comfort (2 Cor. 1:3-4)
- Healing of the Heart, and Freedom (Is. 61:1)
- Physical Healing (Matt. 8:16-17)
- Provision (Matt. 6:31-33)
- Fulfillment of (godly) desires (Ps. 37:4)
- “the Kingdom”! (Luke 12:32)
That’s just a sample. There are so many “great and precious promises” (2 Pet 1:3-4) of God found in Scripture! Furthermore, God can make promises specifically to us.
I remember when I was applying to university. I believed getting into the program I wanted was a promise of God. However, my average wasn’t high enough, so I re-took three courses and added another. Then, after re-applying to two schools, I got a rejection letter from one. I wasn’t looking forward to showing it to my Mom. Then a faith-filled thought came to mind: I would show her tomorrow, along with an acceptance letter from the other school! The next day, there was no letter, but I did see online that I had been accepted! Kindling faith and perseverance in hope: that’s the power of promise!
- The Testimonies of God
We have access to a powerful arsenal of hope-giving testimonies of God from the Bible, from the lives of other Christians, and from our own lives. They are relevant to us now because, as Bill Johnson wrote in Strengthen Yourself in the Lord: “Testimonies remind us of what God did, and based on the truth that He is no respecter of persons and that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, we can expect that the God who did the impossible in the past will also do the impossible in the present.”
When we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, hope feels beyond our grasp and faith feels unreasonable. However, the opposite is the case – we have more than enough reason for hope! I have found this to be true in my life as I make a choice to trust in the faithfulness of God’s nature and his promises. I have further been encouraged by the testimonies of others who have walked this path of faith. I believe you can be too!