PR 23:15 My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad; 16my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right. 17Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD. 18There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.
As Alexander the Great was setting out on his conquest of Asia, he inquired into the financial situation of his followers. To ensure they would not be troubled over the welfare of their dependents during their absence, he distributed crown estates and revenues among them. When he had thus disposed of nearly all the royal resources, his friend General Perdiccas asked Alexander what he had reserved for himself. Alexander the Great, replied, “Hope.”
“In that case,” said Perdiccas, “we who share in your labors will also take part in your hopes.” The General refused the estate allotted to him, and several other of the king’s friends did the same.
We have seen through life and history that hope is a powerful reality, especially for God’s people. Hope ushers confidence and certainty. Hope gives a positive vision towards a future that is yet unknown. Hope sets us free from the clutches of fear and grip of pessimism. Hope brings us to an understanding that no matter what the lies ahead, the sovereignty of God will sustain us, uphold us and see us through.
Genuine hope is not just optimism or positive thinking, as some people would like to believe. Hope is having a firm understanding of God’s character, nature and purposes.
In short, true hope cannot be birthed in a heart that refuses to humbly submit to the sovereign wisdom and power of the Lord. Scripture calls this sense of submission as “the fear of God.”
The word “fear” is the awe and reverence that one feels before the presence of a higher and more powerful being. It is the sense of powerlessness and utter humility that one recognizes before one who is not and never could be our equal.
There are many expressions of our recognition of God’s authority over us. The bottom line, however, is this: To recognize God’s authority is to believe that God can take hold of each and every circumstance and situation in our lives — even the most tragic, the most brutal and the most devastating — and use them all for purposes and intentions that are good, pleasing and glorifying.
This capacity of the Lord may be too much to bear or even imagine possible by the human mind, but that does not mean it cannot be done.
The world will always try to destroy our hope and make us suspicious of the intentions of God’s authority. The world attempts to distort our perceptions of God by misleading us to think of God as a repressive, manipulative, and egoistic Being obsessed with nothing but control and power.
What the world can never understands is the truth that inside the very heart of God is nothing but utter purity, blameless, righteousness, justice, and truth. There is no reason for us to think ill of the Lord or accuse God of wrong-doing. He is good, all the time.
After several years in the pastoral ministry, I have come to a conclusion that hopelessness spares no one. I have seen how people with great wealth and influence can live in unbelievable fear and anxiety when hopelessness sets in.
When a family member is declared terminally ill; when children turn to drugs; when marriages are tested; when financial obligations pile up beyond control, when there is betrayal; when calamities strike; when close friends take their own lives; when there is rejection and abandonment by those we love most; when dreams collapse; when failures happen too often; and when there is nowhere to turn, the spirit of hopelessness sets in so easily.
But it is in these precious moments that God comes. It is in these situations that we see ourselves confronting the reality of our finiteness, and eventually embracing the truth of God’s wisdom and sovereignty. It is in these circumstances that we learn to cry out to the Lord and truly wait for redemption and help.
Even as we yet face all the uncertainties of the future, may we all continue to believe in our hearts and confess with our mouth that there is always hope.
God has set forth this hope in the very person and being of Jesus Christ, who is Immanuel, God who has dwelt among us!
Let us affirm the authority of this blessed hope. Let us proclaim unceasingly the assurance that this hope is sure and that this precious hope can never be cut off.