Psalms 42-43: A Daring Hope

by Carolyn Hope

Where am I? How did I end up here? You think to yourself as you wake up. The ground beneath you is dry and dusty; the sun beats down hotly on your skin. You look at your hands, and you find they’re tied together. But your feet are free. You stand up and gaze around. You’re in a circle of bodies, surrounded by glaring faces. They sneer at you and shout offenses. The pressure is building, and it won’t be long before something breaks.

Someone from behind kicks you forward. “Where’s your God now?” He demands. “Did you lose him? Did he forget about you?” The antagonists laugh and mock you, “He’ll never come!”

You feel weak and dazed. Taking a deep breath, you close your eyes, and the noise around you goes silent as you remember:

In the city of Jerusalem, you make your way to the temple. Relatives, friends, fellow citizens and chosen ones go behind you as you lead the way. There’s singing, dancing, praising, shouting. Joy permeates the air as you head to the house of the Lord.

A rough shove stirs you from your memory. Here you are surrounded, but it is by enemies and foes. Here, there is shouting, but it is the noise of mockery, not worship. Your eyes flash open, and in audacity you stare at those who encircle you. Your blazing bravery is met with laughter and ridicule. “You don’t stand a chance! Where’s your God when you need him? He’ll never come!”

Your emotions rage, but your feet stand still. What am I doing? You wonder. Why shouldn’t I give in? How could I possibly get out of this? You shake your head and take hold of your thoughts. “No,” you say aloud. “I dare to hope in my God!” In your heart, you know: He will fight for you, He will defend you, and He will lead you home.

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Hope That Dares

by Carolyn Hope

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”  (Lamentations 3:21-24)

These few verses in Lamentations are very often quoted, and they should be. There’s a great depth of truth within them. What many people don’t realize, howbeit, is where these poetic promises come from. Jeremiah was in despair. He was lamenting (hence the title of the book). Jerusalem, the once illustrious city, was in shambles. Nothing was as it should be. For much of Jeremiah’s ministry, he had warned the Israelites of this coming day if they did not repent. Now it was there, happening just as he had prophesied, and it broke his heart. Out of a place of deep depression and hopelessness, Jeremiah “dared to hope” in the only One he had left: the Lord, who is faithful in love and brings new mercy every morning.

This passage is very dear to my heart, for I have walked through pain and despair as well. When I was 17, my mother became pregnant twice. Both times resulted in a miscarriage at 11 or 12 weeks. After the first miscarriage, I felt stronger. After the second miscarriage, I was completely broken. My hope was obliterated, and I lost my communication with God. I found myself in a place where I could no longer hear the One I lived for. This led me to despair, depression, and hopelessness. I even came to a point where I was planning how to end my life. The pain of living was too great, the hurts of my heart too much to bear.

During this time, I read Lamentations, and I related to every description Jeremiah gave of his pain. It was these four verses that kept me going and pushed me toward a breakthrough. My favorite part of Lamentations 3:21-24 is the beginning phrase, “Yet I still dare to hope.” Everything is broken and destroyed … yet I still dare to hope. Everything I thought I knew, everything I believed I was, I’m unsure of … yet I still dare to hope. I want to give up, I’m tired of trying … yet I still dare to hope.

I am here today because I dared to hope. I dared to hope in a day when my joy would return. I dared to hope in a God Whose mercy is new and enough for each day. I dared to hope in Jesus, the one Who not only saved me from hell but would deliver me from depression and heal my heart.

Friend, He did it. He healed me, restored me, and has brought me to a greater level of intimacy and joy than I have ever known. He is worth hoping in. He’s worth believing in. He’s worth trusting in.

Whatever pain you have, whatever season you’re in, dare to hope. Don’t give up yet. Don’t let go. There’s an answer to your problem, and His Name is Jesus. There’s a reason to keep living: His Name is Jesus. He is your inheritance; you can hope in Him. When your life seems hopeless, Holy Spirit within you will hope. Let your hope in your King be a candle that never blows out. Dare to hope … deliverance is coming.

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Hope That Anchors

by Carolyn Hope

Thus by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be strongly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and steadfast. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus our forerunner has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:18-20)

There was a time when the most innovative way to travel was by boat. Walking, horseback, carriages, or wagons could only take you so far. A ship, however, could cross the vast waters and navigate the mysterious seas. New lands and peoples could be found by sailing. There was (and is) a sense of great adventure traveling by sea.

Perhaps the ship’s most prized possession and necessary tool is an anchor. Without an anchor, people can sail far, but they can’t stay anywhere. An anchor is what secures and steadies a boat, ensuring that it isn’t swayed from its course by the wind or waves. When stopped, sailors can rest in peace, because there’s an anchor grounding them in the earth below the waters.

If you’ve ever been on a boat, or even on a dock, you can understand how much they sway under the influence of the waters. Even a small current or a gentle tide is enough to push and pull a ship from its resting place. Imagine how far away a boat would drift with no anchor!

There are many circumstances that will come into your life, trying to sway you off course. Through all the pushing and shoving and pulling of this world, you have an anchor to call you back to your purpose. This anchor is hope, which continually reminds you of God’s character and promises. When you get discouraged or begin to despair, hope tugs at your heart and pulls you to the truth of God’s Word. When everything seems against you and the promise appears impossible, hope calls you to faith in your God. Jesus will do what He says He’ll do. Hope assures you of His faithfulness and certainty.

Let hope anchor you today. Whatever your situation is, don’t let it pull you away from the promises of the Lord. Listen to the voice of hope, and let it re-center you and remind you who you are, Whose you are, and where you’re going.

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Hope That Lasts

by Carolyn Hope

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. (Psalm 25:5)

In today’s culture, we often use the phrase, ‘I hope’ to mean I wish. We ‘hope’ that our team will win the game, or that our mom will make our favorite meal for dinner, or that so-and-so would ask so-and-so out. Such ‘hope’ is shallow at best and only lasts for a short period of time. It’s minimal and fleeting.

The Bible talks about a different kind of hope. It speaks of a hope that is deep, rooted, and secure. The hope of God is confident, unshakably believing His promises, and it will hold on for as long as it takes to see the fulfillment of those promises. It’s an “all day long” hope that only deepens over time.

How long are you willing to wait for God’s blessings to come into your life? Will you believe even as the night approaches? I want to encourage you to wait. Hold onto your hope. Watch and see, for your God and Savior will do as He promised.

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Hope That Perseveres

by Carolyn Hope

Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” (Romans 4:18)

Abraham’s story is a very beautiful picture of hope. This man was 75 years old and had no children. His wife Sarah was 65, far too old to produce a child. Still, it was at this time that God began promising Abraham an heir of his own. In one instance He appeared before Abraham and declared that he would have descendants too numerous to count (see Genesis 15:5). Abraham believed God’s promise, a promise that was outrageous in the natural but certain in the spiritual. Then for 25 years, he waited. He waited, and waited, and waited. He did not, however, in his waiting forget. He didn’t put the promise to the side or set it on the shelf. Abraham kept hoping, and his hope was fulfilled. Sarah gave birth to Isaac when she was 90 years old (Abraham was 100!), beginning the lineage of the Israelites, a people and nation that has stood for thousands of years.

Hope is not passive. Hope is active. It perseveres through every trial, every circumstance, and every year. Hope refuses to give up, even when all the odds are stacked against it. When all is hopeless, hope remains. Those who hold onto hope and will not let go will receive their promises. Relentless hope in the Lord always leads to fulfillment.

Wherever you are, there is hope for you. There are promises from God for your life, and they will come to pass. It may take weeks, months, or years of waiting, persistent hope, but if you will refuse to believe anything less than what God has said, you will receive what you are hoping for. God’s Word never returns void (Isaiah 55:11) and always proves true (2 Samuel 22:31 and Proverbs 30:5). Keep hoping today, as Abraham did. Don’t put your promises on the shelf or pretend they aren’t important. Allow your heart to hope, Dear One.

One of the ways you can persevere in your hope is to pray over your hopes and dreams. Read the Scriptures and remind yourself of the Lord’s promises. As you pray and stand on the Word, you are adding fuel to the fire of hope, strengthening it to withstand the winds and rains that come against it. The world we live in is full of discouragement, and there are many times when it seems too hard to hope. If you’ll be diligent and keep hoping, you will get what you asked for. Don’t lose your hope, Child of God. It’s a precious light in the darkness around us.

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Hope That Satisfies

by Carolyn Hope

Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. (Romans 5:1-5)

Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” When we hope for something and it doesn’t happen, it crushes our hearts. Unfortunately, we live in a broken world with broken people, and one of the consequences of that is broken hope. Your dad or mom promises to come see your sports game or performance in a play and then doesn’t show. Your best friend says he’ll help you study for a test but bails last minute. These are only two of many examples. Over time, such painful encounters chip away at our souls, until finally our trust is shattered and our hope destroyed.

God’s hope is better than our experiences. He has a hope that does not and will not disappoint us. When He gives a word, He keeps it. When He makes a promise, He honors it. He is never absent, nor does He quit on you or change His mind. Jesus doesn’t make a commitment to you and then leave you when something ‘better’ comes up. No, son or daughter; He wouldn’t miss it (your game, your recital, your life) for the world!

You have been given a hope that will be fulfilled. Don’t be afraid. You can trust your Father to do what He says He’ll do. If your hope has been shattered by the world, or by the people you love, don’t fret. Jesus is a Healer. He will heal your heart to hope again, this time in a hope that satisfies.

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Hope Amidst Darkness

by Carolyn Hope

We live in a world that is sadly full of darkness. It seems that everywhere we turn, there are a plethora of reasons to despair. In times like these, it can feel impossible to have any sense of hope.

Perhaps you feel this way. I want you to know that there is a hope that prevails amidst the chaos of a lost world. There is a hope that satisfies, lasts, and dares. This hope comes from Jesus, and it’s a hope that will not fail you.

Hold onto hope. The promises of God are on their way to you. As you wait for them, believe and trust in your Father, who will never let you down. He is the reason we have hope, and what a great reason He is.

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