NOTE: The following post was originally published through elevateHim Ministries on February 17, 2014.
OVERFLOWING WITH HOPE
David C. Hughes
Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
–Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man, Epistle I, 1733
When I first began to reflect on the idea of hope, the concept of this theological virtue lay on the wet cobblestones of my mind, an amorphous blob to which I’d given little thought. Then a paragraph in I Am Number Four, a science fiction novel by Pittacus Lore, caught my attention:
“There is always hope. . . . Don’t give up hope just yet. It’s the last thing to go. When you have lost hope, you have lost everything. And when you think all is lost, when all is dire and bleak, there is always hope.”
That paragraph grabbed my heart during a season of Spirit-inspired change, a transition through which I stared down my fears as I considered exchanging a steady six-figure income for the joy of a full-time writing career. To say this was challenging is like saying Captain Ahab was a wee bit obsessed chasing Moby Dick. But throughout the fabric of my choices, I’ve recognized the golden thread of hope through God’s promises.
While the Hebrews languished in Babylonian exile, God spoke a message of hope to His people through the prophet Jeremiah: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). The Lord gave the exiles hope of freedom and prosperity, and just two chapters later He declared the coming establishment of the new covenant: “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33b NIV). Talk about hope! 70 years later King Cyrus set the Hebrews free, and less than 600 years after that, Jesus created the new covenant, setting us all free.
Freedom is the realization of hope, and hope is the unquestioned expectation that what God says will happen will indeed happen. God always keeps His promises, but we, as fallen humans, doubt. We are impatient, we believe we know what’s best for us, we think God takes too long so we take our lives into our own hands. And so we suffer.
I’d read and heard about God’s promises for many years, but because of my distrust of Him at the time, I chose to remain shackled to money and fear rather than believe I was immersed in God’s grace. When I attended an elevateHim Ministries’ Fully Alive men’s retreat back in 2011, I finally started believing God’s promises. As a result, He opened my eyes to the reality of how He’d been guiding my path up to this moment, and how He will continue to guide my path into eternity. He turned my hopelessness into hope by convincing me of the truth, vitality, and absolute power of His Word.
So what do you hope for? Do you trust God enough to allow Him to replace your striving with His will, to replace despair with hope? Do you trust His promises of redemption, salvation, and true freedom blanketed in the grace of forgiveness? Do you, like Jesus, endure your cross for the hope of eternal life? We talk about the patience of Job, but what about Job’s hope? “Though he slay me,” he said, “yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15b NIV). May your hope spring eternal as Jesus, the Lord of all hope, renews your hope in Him to overflowing.
Copyright ©2014 by David C. Hughes