“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
Not long ago my wife and I were hauling a load of debris to our regional waste transfer station way out in the countryside. The gas gauge on our vehicle showed that we were very low on fuel, but feeling the need to get to our destination asap, we decided we had enough to make it.
This is the story of our lives.
On the trip home, we literally coasted into a gas station with an empty tank and a stalled engine. Relieved that we were safely at the pump, we looked at each other and said in unison, “Thank You Lord!”
It is one thing when you’re out of gas, but it is another thing when you’re out of hope.
Many of us are in such a place. The needle on our hope gauge is dangerously low. The marathon of adversity we’ve been running for the last several months has us just about tapped out.
We need hope as much as we need air. We need hope like a car needs fuel.
But what is hope? Could someone define it, please? Gladly.
Hope is the sense that you have something good to look forward to even when you are in the midst of difficult circumstances. When you have hope it means that you are anticipating that the sun will come out again no matter how dark, depressing, and dreary life may be in the moment.
Think of it this way…we all have a hope tank and that tank rises and falls with our various life experiences. And while it is true that in Jesus we always have hope, adversity has a way of diminishing our awareness of it. Hard stuff depletes the hope reservoir. When you are facing something discouraging, you can almost watch the needle drop.
The story of Job is a prime example of how a believer’s hope can fluctuate and go up and down with our life experiences. When Job’s life was upended with one tragic setback after another, his hope took a hit. Notice how the needle on his hope gauge moved:
- There were moments when Job was utterly hopeless – “Where then is my hope? Can anyone find it? No, my hope will go down with me to the grave” (19:15-16). At this point Job was so hemmed in by his circumstances he couldn’t imagine anything good would ever come his way again. The clouds of life were blocking the sun and Job was convinced he would never see the sunshine again.
- There were moments when Job had a hint of hope – “My friends scorn me, but I pour out my tears to God. I need someone to mediate between God and me, as a person mediates between friends.” (16:20-21) Here Job is running on fumes. He’s feeling alone as far as friends are concerned but he believes he can trust God with his tears. He has just a hint of hope in his heart, thinking maybe there was Someone who could take away his pain and make things better again.
- There were moments when Job was full of hope – “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God!” (19:26-27) In a breakthrough moment, Job was assured that he did have something to look forward to after all and that even death couldn’t take it away. He had hope again – a God-assured future – and it was based on the existence of a Redeemer, someone who would ultimately come through for him.
Though Job didn’t have all the specifics at that point, he was right. In Jesus, God would provide a Redeemer, a Savior who would right all wrongs and see to it that everything sad would become untrue (C.S. Lewis). His circumstances hadn’t really changed yet, but Job was hopeful again. No matter what his hope gauge said, he realized the tank was full forever because of his Redeemer.
The same is true for you.
What’s gonna move the needle on your hope gauge? Hope has a name and it is Jesus. Focusing on Him – not on our circumstances – is what will replenish our hope today.
Here’s to hope.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.