By: Lindsey Whitmore
Hope takes on many forms. We have hope that gets us through each day. We have hope for certain things or people, as well as hope for our, or others, future(s). However, like so many other words we use, such as peace, joy, and love, we cannot understand or begin to experience their designed definitions without relationship with the One who is the very reason these abstract nouns exist.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5 NIV
In this world today, there are many trials and resident evils working overtime to try to cheat, steal, and destroy God's children’s hope. There are plagues, famines, natural disasters, epidemics, isolation, and race wars all rising, to name a few. They have always been there, but it seems there is no safe place of retreat from the attacks in our current day. I say seems because there are many verses that speak to the fact there IS a retreat. God should be our retreat. In Matthew 24, Jesus walks us through what we can expect to see when the time of His return is drawing near. He says specifically in verse six, “ …don’t panic. Yes these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately.” Instead, we are to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. We are not to focus on what can be seen, but instead on what cannot. There, in the unseen, we will find fresh winds of hope every time.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV
As we practice adjusting our eyes to a longer view, it is important to allow God's Word to pour over us daily. We must allow His Word to be the first and last thing we hear as we move through our day. Practice begins with turning off the news or soundbites from social media and turning on praise and worship music. Practice is sitting still in the presence of the Lord, instead of wandering in lassitude. It is allowing yourself to stay refreshed by the hope infused Truth that is the Word of God.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
One way I have been practicing this is by getting out of my house and walking. I walk with the purpose to meet with God. I praise and pray during this time. My craving is to hear him speak through Holy Spirit. Rarely have I heard nothing, and never have I felt it was empty time. My cravings are always satisfied in Him.
Many times, Holy Spirit speaks to me through worship music. Recently, I was restless and really needed God's guidance. The string of songs that came on was like having a beautiful serenade. I did not want to stop walking. I found that my feet just kept going, while my hands raised and tears streamed down my face.
The first song that played when I met with God was Kim Walker Smith’s Infinite. It opens with how I always feel when I walk: “I hear Your voice, through the madness all around me I feel You here, when my world falls apart. As I walk, I know You will go before me. When I fall, I can feel Your hand in mine…Oh, You're never too far away…Oh, You're only one breath away...” I thanked Him for keeping His promises, that He will never leave us nor forsake us, and the promise that He will always attune His ears to the righteous when we call out to Him.
The next song that played was Kari Jobe’s Love Came Down, a song telling us to remember all that God has done and how He is the only God out of thousands of false gods who loved His creation so much that, while we were at our worst, He came down to rescue us. We sing out to remind our soul that our hope can always be found in Him, even if momentarily misplaced.
Kim Walker Smith’s Protector came on next. The lyrics powerfully remind us we can trust God to be our protector in the midst of the battles we find ourselves in. We must, like the words of this song, “come out of agreement with the lie that God has left us on our own and come into agreement with the truth that God is who He says He is.”
I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:8-11 ESV
My walk went on like this until I found myself in front of my driveway again. I knew I had been given more than I could have asked for – just like God's promise in His Gospel that He gives good gifts to those who ask. Our time ended with a song called Born Again, which speaks to remembering who we are because of Whose we are.
Hope takes on many forms, but it originates from only one source, which is God, Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
I’m praying over all those who have met with me today by reading what I believe our Father's heart is for His people – that we never lose a moment of knowing His love, peace, and hope. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NIV