Having hope in God means being confidently expectant of His promises.
Did you know that having hope can positively impact our overall well-being? According to the founder of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, it can reduce feelings of helplessness, boost happiness, reduce stress, and improve the quality of life. He conducted 20 years of scientific research about hope and optimism and concluded the eminent effects of having it. (Positive Psychology)
People ultimately need hope right now because of the pandemic. In this season of extreme pandemonium, it can be the light that shines in the dark.
In this article, we’ll be discussing further the benefits of having hope, what it is essentially, and why we need it.
What is Hope?
From a Biblical Perspective
Many people perceive the notion of hope as wishful thinking. However, from a biblical perspective, it means more than that.
The Bible defines hope as a “confident expectation”. It is confidently expecting the fulfillment of God’s promises, and its strength lies in His faithfulness. It is a firm assurance in the face of ambiguous and unknown circumstances. (Romans 8:24-25, Hebrews 11:1,7)
Christian hope is expectant and firmly believes that God can transform this expectation into reality. It’s anticipation for what God will do. It’s not merely wishing for something to happen.
Isaiah 40:31 states that there is an assurance of renewed strength for those who hope in God.
Although Job suffered a great deal, he still proclaimed, “Though He slays me, I will hope in Him”. This is unaffected by doubts about God’s might and goodness – it is unwavering even in the face of adversity. (Job 13:15)
Biblical hope is not wishful thinking nor vain. Instead, it confidently expects that God, who sent Christ to pay the punishment for our sins, will provide for all of our needs now and forever. Believers can face present troubles with renewed vigor and resolve because of their hope in eternal life.
From a Worldly Perspective
In terms of function, hope can be the same from a Christian or worldly perspective. Both denote a positive expectation and meaning. But, other than that, they are entirely different.
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, it is “to want something to happen or be true” and “think that it could happen or be true.”
When unbelievers hope for something, they don’t necessarily have any basis for that. It could be that they are merely hoping for the best. Worldly hope can have a fallible basis, but believers put their hope in the infallible God.
What Does the Bible Say About Hope?
Bible Verses About Hope
- Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
- Psalm 9:18 – “But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.”
- Psalm 146:5 – “Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.”
- 2 Corinthians 3:12 – “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.”
- Job 11:18 – “And you will feel secure because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security.”
- Hebrews 6:11–12 – “And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
The Full Assurance of Hope
We’ll take a look at Hebrews 6:11-12 to get more understanding of biblical hope. In verse 11, Paul desired that each of the believers would have the full assurance of it until the end. But, what does this mean?
Paul wanted the believers to have isn’t the wishful thinking kind. It’s not the finger-crossing kind either. It’s not just to hope for the best. This kind that Paul mentioned was fully assured. It is with confident expectation. It has that certainty.
Connection Between Faith and Hope
We can see that there is a relationship between faith and hope in Hebrews 11:1. Paul describes faith as “the confidence of things hoped for, assurance about what we do not see.”
Faith is the full assurance of hope. It is the anticipation and desire for good things to happen in the future. Faith is also the conviction in what we do not see. Some of what we do not see can be in the present and not in the future. An example of this is in Hebrews 11:3, where faith is present at the time of creation.
Faith has a much broader scope. It does include hope, but it’s more than that. Faith involves the past and present. It is the expression of faith in God’s future work.
Apostle Paul’s View on Hope
Paul shared the same view about hope in Romans 4:18. He described Abraham as a great example of faith (justification by faith). In Romans 4, Paul expressed how Abraham’s faith made him righteous in God’s eyes. The faith Paul referred was Abraham’s faith in God to fulfill His promise to him.
The faith that justified Abraham was his faith in God’s future work. Paul even said that Abraham was “fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He promised.” (Romans 4:21)
It meant that Abraham had the “full assurance of hope.”
The Importance of Hope
Many people equate hope with a dire circumstance. People want to find a way out of their predicament. That’s why people find themselves ardently hoping. It can also be the key to improving one’s daily life.
Hope propels us to move forward
Having hope propels us to achieve our dreams and drives us toward our pursuits in life. It helps us to keep going and enables us to move forward. Having hope allows us to see that there is light despite the darkness. It’s essential to have it so that you will have a driving force to keep moving forward.
Hope enables us to envision a better future
Having it helps us see a better future. Envisioning a future full of prosperity, success, and abundance can encourage us. The pain you are suffering right now is just temporary, and it cannot compare to the joy God will shower you with in the future. (Romans 8:18)
Hope combats negative thinking
Negativity steals away your joy. It robs your peace and fills you with anxiety. But, having it combats negative thinking.
Benefits of Putting Our Hope in God
We will not be confounded or disappointed
Isaiah 49:23 states that those who hope in the Lord will not be disappointed. Worldly hope is merely wishing for the best but not being sure about the outcome. Biblical hope, on the other hand, expects the best without any room for disappointment.
We will not be put to shame
Psalm 25:3 reassures that all who put their hope in God will never be ashamed. You know for sure that God will always provide for you and protect you. He is faithful to deliver you from all harm.
We are free from fear and anxiety
The righteous who put their hope in God will be free from fear and anxiety. They will be full of the Holy Spirit and enjoy God’s divine providence. They will not have any reason to fear because God is with them always. (Psalm 46:2)
We are protected and blessed by God
God promises a future full of hope, blessings, and prosperity to His people. The godly will see the goodness of God and will experience the overflow of His abundance. (Jeremiah 29:11)
How to Regain Hope in Times of Adversities?
Pause for a while and contemplate
Being bombarded with problems can be overwhelming and exhausting. It’s easy to lose hope in times of trouble and simply give up. It might be easier to succumb to defeat than fight back. But, you can never solve your problems that way.
For a moment, I’d like you to pause. Contemplate and reflect on what’s been going on lately in your life. Try to see the purpose of the situation instead of the pain. Maybe God is trying to teach you something first. He changes your heart before He changes your situation.
Also, try to think of all the good things that happened recently and focus on them instead.
Surround yourself with hopeful people
Who we choose to hang out with will significantly influence us. Our friends can influence our minds, actions, and words.
The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:33 that bad company corrupts good character. Proverbs 13:20 also states that he who walks with wise people will also become wise. These verses tell us how the people we spend time with can influence us powerfully.
If you surround yourself with negative people, you will become negative as well. But, if you surround yourself with hopeful people, then you will be full of positivity. So, it’s essential to choose your friends wisely.
Keep in mind what you’re grateful for
It’s great to count your blessings when you’re feeling down. Try to list the things you’re thankful for and give thanks to God for all of them. Even if it’s from the little things, thank God for them. Apostle Paul commands every believer to give thanks in all circumstances in 1 Thessalonians 5:18. No matter what you’re going through right now, you can still have a reason to rejoice and be thankful.
Reduce your bad news intake
If you’re drowning in fear and anxiety because of all the bad news happening in our world, try to limit your bad news intake temporarily. Stay away from social media for a while if you can. Don’t watch the news for a while. I know it’s essential to keep yourself abreast of current affairs. But, if it’s contributing to your anxiety and depression, then stay away from them. If not, at least reduce the amount of time you invest in watching bad news.
Concentrate on the positive aspects of your life
Try to concentrate on the positive things in your life instead of the negative ones. Strive to see the silver lining and the beauty in all circumstances. Focus on the good things in your life.
Read the Bible and pray
Meditate on God’s Word and pray. Consistently spend time with the Holy Spirit to foster your spirituality. Read God’s promises and claim them. Receive what you read and believe in His Word.
Whenever I feel weighed down by the pressures of this world, I want to immerse myself in God’s promises. What I do is that I confess His promises and read them repeatedly. I do this until I have regained that “confident expectation” once again.
Encountering various trials can be potentially detrimental to one’s mental health. Recurring problems in one’s finances, health, or social life can have a negative impact. Such events may lead to depression, anxiety, and other unfavorable things. Unfortunately, experiencing atrocities in this life is inevitable.
However, you can overcome anything when you put your hope in God. The basis for this confidence rest in God’s faithfulness. Thus, those who put their hope in God can face anything with courage and overcome.
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