Hope Again!

 

How’s your hope? A high level of hope is one of the keys to a healthy and holy life. The loss of hope is a horrible thing. It leads to discouragement, defeat and despair. It makes our souls a breeding ground for all kinds of destructive thoughts and actions.

One of the great themes of the Bible is hope. The Lord regularly reminds us that we have reason to hope in Him. This is clearly seen in Old Testament stories of God’s dealings with His people.  Here’s one example:

Therefore this is what the Lord says: “I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,” declares the Lord.  — Zechariah 1:16 (NIV)

After 70 years of captivity in Babylon, God was ready to restore His people to their homeland. Although they had put themselves in this bad situation through their continual disobedience to Him, the Lord still had good plans for them. Perpetual punishment and misery was not what God wanted for His people. The 70 years of divine discipline was designed to teach them to love Him and walk in HIs ways, because His ways were best for their lives. In this passage God gave them promises of redemption and restoration. He held out reassurance and hope for their future.

God is merciful and holds out wonderful promises for us too, even for those who have made bad decisions and terrible mistakes in life. He promises to rebuild what our sins have destroyed. He offers us hope — good promises for our future — good promises we can depend on.

The gift of hope is a wonderful gift. Real hope is not fantasy or wishful thinking. It’s something substantial, based in reality; based in promises given by someone with integrity and capacity.

Integrity refers to the character of the one making the promises. They don’t lie. They don’t promise what they have no intention of delivering. Their word can be counted on as reliable and true. Capacity refers to the ability of the one making the promise to bring about or deliver on what is promised. Capacity is all about having the power and resources to do what someone says they’re going to do.

Someone can have great integrity — undeniable, absolute sincerity and unquestionable, good intentions — but inadequate resources to fully deliver on a promise. On the other hand, someone can have great capacity to deliver on a promise, but have no integrity — their word can’t be trusted. For hope to be real, it must be based on the character and promises of someone with both integrity and capacity.

This is our God!

God is a God of integrity. His promises are true, sure and reliable. He is trustworthy.

He’s also a God of capacity. He has the power and resources to do whatever He says He will do, no matter how impossible it looks or gracious it seems to us.

God invites us to grab hold of genuine hope based on His promises. He encourages us to rest in this hope. He asks us to patiently wait for the fulfillment of His promises. He’s a God who never lies and is well-able to do what He says He will do. Go ahead and hope again!

 

Dale O'Shields

 

 

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