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Hope is a great word, right?  It’s an even greater feeling.  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that we all love to experience hope.  

We also know it’s important to God.  He mentions it time and time again in scripture.

 

Psalm 39:7: “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”

Psalm 62:5 “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.”

Psalm 147:11: “but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.”

 

When we read and memorize these passages in Psalms, written specifically to uplift and encourage, they can be a balm to our broken hearts and downtrodden souls.

We recognize these verses.  We share them with others. But do we really understand them?

I'd like to share with you 4 ways we can choose to look at life... and how we can better understand the glorious and yet sometimes misunderstood topic of Hope.

Hope: Where are you looking? Free Bible Journaling Kit

Looking down.

How frequently do you look down?  How much of your life is spent with your soul in turmoil?

If you are anything like me, it doesn’t take a whole lot of distraction to move my focus to my circumstances and away from the truth of the gospel. A gripping news story, a scary medical report, a financial downturn no one saw coming... any number of things can consume my mind on a daily basis. 

Sometimes, when this happens, we are actually forgetting why we truly need salvation.  See, the biggest thing we need rescuing from is not a pandemic… or financial stress… or marital strife… or a failing body… or any of the other things that cause us to be cast down so often.

No, what we need to be saved from is our own sin. 

Because that, my friend, is what will truly cause us to be separated from God.

 

Psalm 43:5 says this: Why are you cast down, O my soul,

    and why are you in turmoil within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,

    my salvation and my God.

 

The psalmist is giving his soul the stern admonishment that we must also preach to ourselves again and again.

Stop looking down. Look to Him. Hope in God because He is our salvation.

 

Looking around.

It doesn’t matter where you live on this Earth if you look around it can get a little scary.  There are sickness and fear, crime and hatred, famine and poverty. There is always something going on that is pointing at what is wrong in our world. 

But I challenge you to hold onto this verse from Psalm 119:114: You are my hiding place and my shield;   I hope in your word.

Let the God of the Universe be your hiding place.  Instead of looking around and seeing the fallen world, look around and see your shield.  

Then take that shield into battle, knowing it will withstand the arrows of the enemy.  

See how the Lord of Hosts is working in this world for His glory to be displayed throughout the nations, and if we are trusting in Him, for our good.  (Romans 8:28)

Look around.  But Hope in God’s Word.  He is your protection.

 

Looking forward.

This verse in 1 Corinthians 15:19  is quite striking:  “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

Many of us spend so much of our time looking down at our circumstances and looking around at all the things of this world that we forget to look forward.

We cling to the promises that Christ will stand with us, heal us and save us.  And those are great things.

But as Paul says, if that is ALL there is... if there is nothing more than just this life we are living now, then we are to be pitied.  

Because the best news of all is that the hope we have in Christ is so much more than what He does for us during the 80 or 90 years we walk on this Earth.  

We can look forward to an eternity with God.  And it’s an eternity without illness, viruses, unfaithfulness, rebellion or sin.  

It is an eternity that we can easily and readily hope for!

 

Looking up.

How do we access this eternity? 

It’s quite spectacular, actually.

See, God sent Christ to die a brutal death on a cross that you and I deserved as a payment for our unholiness.  And he took our sin.  He actually carried it and he bore it.  

But that’s not all.  In exchange, he gave us His righteousness.

 

This is the wondrous exchange (mirifica commutatio) made by his boundless goodness. Having become with us the Son of Man, he has made us with himself sons of God. By his own descent to the earth he has prepared our ascent to heaven. Having received our mortality, he has bestowed on us his immortality. Having undertaken our weakness, he has made us strong in his strength. Having submitted to our poverty, he has transferred to us his riches. Having taken upon himself the burden of unrighteousness with which we were oppressed, he has clothed us with his righteousness."  John Calvin

 

And I have even better news…..you don’t have to do anything to gain these riches.  In fact, you can’t. You have nothing to offer but filthy rags.  

God gives you faith to believe and by grace and grace alone (meaning you don’t deserve it), He allows you to be a joint-heir with Christ if you only trust in Him.

 

Romans 5:2:  Through him, we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

 

Look closely at the ending phrase of this verse.

We’ve circled back around to the reason we can hope!

We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

Hope in God.  He is good.

 

Don’t look down.  

Look around with purpose.

Never forget to look forward.

And always look up!

Jen

If you want to do a little creative study on this topic, I'm including a FREE Bible Journaling Kit for you to download.  It highlights the scriptures of this article and I hope you enjoy it.

Hope Bible Journaling Mini-Kit by Grace in Color