No matter the situation, as God's cherished child, purchased by the precious blood of his Son, hope survives when there's an outlook that's heavenward and a perspective that's eternal.
But, practically speaking, how do you and I experience this? How—right in the middle of legitimate challenges, crises, and concerns; right in the midst of heartaches and heaviness—do we maintain authentic hope?
It starts with the Word. We must daily intake the truths of Scripture.
Because earth's temporary problems and circumstances will daily tempt us to take our eyes off Jesus, we must daily take in the counsel, correction, and comfort of the Word. This habitual discipline keeps our eyes on the Father, Son, and Spirt; keeps our focus on our position as a dearly loved, cared for child; and keeps our minds ultimately fixed on what's heavenly and eternal.
"My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word."
It's shaped by willingness. We must daily think thoughts aligned with God's heart.
What benefits does the Word afford us, no matter how much we expose our minds to it, if we're not willing to replace worry with revelation, toxicity with truth? This is why we must be purposeful and diligent about recognizing the lying thoughts that take their stand against the truth of God's Word. Once identified, we must give such thoughts no lingering, permanent positions in our minds. Daily, we must cultivate our mind's renewal, through alignment to God's revealed truth.
'I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I have set my heart on your laws."
It's solidified through worship. We must daily lead our hearts to adoration of our great God.
Aside from the power of Scripture, I can think of no other practice that fuels hope more than the worship of the Father, in spirit and in truth. Whether we're in a crowd of other believers or in absolute solitude, whether we're in a church house or at our kitchen sinks, whether our surroundings are engulfed in music or complete silence, worship does something powerful within us. As we participate in what we were created to do, there's no place for fear or worry, no room for anxiety or hopelessness. We simply cannot worship and woe at the same time. This is why habitual, authentic worship plays a significant role in maintaining a hopeful, heavenly disposition through life.
"May my lips overflow with praise,
for you teach me your decrees.
May my tongue sing of your word,
for all your commands are righteous."
Psalm 119: 171-172
For certain, we can experience the most challenging and crushing of circumstances, this side of Heaven. Yet, as children of the Most High, we can still have hope. We can! We can face the greatest disappointments, the greatest setbacks, yet hope, ultimately, can remain intact. We can hear the most shattering news that alters our reality, but hope, though it may be tempted to dwindle, will not be destroyed. We can wait and watch year after year after year for an unfulfilled promise to come to pass and, still, hope can remain alive, even thrive.
How in the world does this happen?
How can there be genuine hope when there's genuine hard?
It's because the continual intake of God's living, active Word, partnered with willingness and worship, does a mighty, transforming work within: it fixes our thoughts on the sweet Savior; it focuses our mind on our Father, the powerful Creator; it reassures us of the Spirit of Christ, the ever-present Helper; it renews our perspective and our outlook; it reveals God's heart, affirms his purpose, and firmly establishes our footing; and it reminds us that because we've been mercifully forgiven through Jesus' sacrifice, we stand in the powerful position of victory, come what may.
OH HALLELUJAH FOR THE HOPE THAT'S OURS BECAUSE WE'RE HIS!