When I am feeling hopeless
Learning about hope in the last couple of weeks has changed my internal life. There are a few things right now that my husband and I are waiting for. We are waiting for God to release a central building for our ministry, to release a separate building for a ministry house in the local shanty town, to show us the next stage of our ministry, whether or not to travel next year? Most of those things have huge question marks right now about how God is going to work them out. God’s biggest words to us have been: wait and rest. But waiting and resting is hard when you are not sure how long it is going to be. The buildings we are waiting for could happen any time between 1 week and eternity! But Hope is helping me to fight discouragement in the last couple of weeks. When the enemy comes to whisper, I feel like now I have been properly introduced to Hope I can fight the lies more effectively:
‘Your ministry has come to an end. Nothing much is happening. Not much growth is happening right now.’
Hope answers: Don’t you know about seasons? Don’t you know that winter happens before Spring? Enjoy the rest now! Another season is coming! Enjoy this season of more space right now and be faithful with the lives you have to invest in.
‘ What if God never releases a building to your ministry? Maybe He isn’t releasing a building because He isn’t doing anything more with you guys there. You won’t need a building’
Hope answers: I believe He has already laid the foundations and vision for a space for our ministry. But if He doesn’t release one to us just yet, that is okay too. If we don’t need one, then that is fine too. God knows what He is doing, He makes all things beautiful in His time and my hope is in Him.
These truths about hope have helped me to fight discouragement and remain hopeful!
1. Recognizing where hope should be anchored.
We each have an anchor, but where we place it plays a huge role in how we remain hopeful. There are very few verses in the Bible that talk about placing our hope in things - Hebrews 11:1 is one of them - but the majority of verses talk about placing our hope in the Lord. If I anchor my hope into things I desire to happen, like getting a building for the ministry here, then I am left anchorless if those things don’t work out as I'd like. But if I anchor my hope in Christ and His promise that ‘all things work out for the good of those who love Him’ (Romans 8:28) then I can rest secure in the storms no matter the outcome.
2. Hope works best in weakness.
I am familiar with the feelings of weakness and brokenness but I like to feel strong! However, Hope is strongest in our weakness.
In Romans 8:24-28, right smack between hope being something we can’t see and the promise that God will work out everything for our good, there is this verse, which at first read feels like a diversion:
God expects us to find hope in the midst of our weakness - that is why He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. It is in the midst of weakness that the Holy Spirit can help us - strengthen our hearts and pray for us. When I am praying about next year I am still not clear what God has in mind. We would like to visit the UK and see family and friends we won’t have seen for 3 years. We would also like to embrace the fullness of whatever God has for our ministry here, but we aren’t sure what that is yet. I don’t even know what to pray - but the Spirit does and as I put my anchor of Hope in God and allow the Spirit to intercede for us, I can trust He knows and will show us as we need to know.
3. God desires to give us a future and a hope.
We have already read that God works out everything for the good of those who love Him. When we understand what Hope really is - a fighting force of internal encouragement in the midst of opposition - we can see this well known verse in a new light too:
God gives us a hope! He has given us the Hope - Christ Jesus to bring redemption and salvation into all the situations where we need saving and helping! He has placed His Holy Spirit inside of us to fan hope into flame so that we can fully embrace the One who fought for us and won! He is our hope and glory. Our Jesus.