Encouragement & Hope

Where Do You Find Hope?

These two posts (one & two) earlier this week have sparked many conversations about hope.  I’ve listened to many stories about your need for hope in difficult times, so I wanted to send you off into the weekend with a bit of wisdom on hope.

A few years ago I had my hopes up about a situation that didn’t happen according to my plan.  My spirit was crushed and my heart ached.  I could barely think about anything besides my disappointment.  At first I thought I must not be a very “good Christian” to have my heart broken and to be in such despair.  However, as I shared my heart with a wise friend of mine he quoted this verse to me:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
 Proverbs 13:12
These words described exactly how I felt.  My heart was sick because my hope was deferred.  I thought a dream I had longed for was going to be fulfilled, but it wasn’t.  I was comforted to know that it was normal to feel this way.  I clung to the idea that having my heart broken didn’t mean that I didn’t trust God.  It simply meant I was a real person with real feelings.  And sometimes those feelings are feelings of disappointment.  I gave myself permission to grieve the loss of my dream.  I took time to feel what I was feeling.  I didn’t try to pretend that I was disappointed.
And then I began to hope again.  This time my hope was in something besides my circumstances.  It came from a much more solid place: from the Word of God.
The Psalmist says four times in Psalm 119 and once in Psalm 130 that he put his hope in the word of the Lord.  Take a look at a few of these verses with me.
You are my refuge and my shield;
I have put my hope in your word.
Psalm 119:114
I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in your word.
Psalm 119:147
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
Psalm 130:5
In each of these verses you can see anticipation and the need for hope.  The Psalmist wasn’t afraid to be real with the Lord.  In Psalm 119:147 he says he wakes up before the dawn and cries out to the Lord.  He is honest about how he feels about his current circumstance.  However, he doesn’t let that circumstance determine the course of his life.  Rather, he chooses to put his hope in the word of the Lord rather than the outcome of the situation.
When we are hoping for something big in life or praying for the impossible, it is okay to be disappointed when our prayers are answered with a “no” or a “not right now.”  It is perfectly normal to be sad or frustrated.  But when we let that disappointment or sadness overwhelm our lives and consume our thoughts, we begin to tread on dangerous ground.  When we feel despair, we must grab ahold of something true.  God’s Word is not only true, but it will last forever.  It will never change.  Through His Word, God can bring peace to your broken heart.  He can heal the wound that the world has ripped open.
When you face the heart-breaking reality of a hope deferred cling to what it true and never-changing.  Our circumstances will always change, but the Word of the Lord will last forever!
::     ::     ::     ::     ::
When have you had hope deferred?
How did you respond?
What are you currently hoping for?
Practically, how can you put your hope in the Word of the Lord today?
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