Sunday’s Scripture –December 1, 2019
Professionals who help people in difficult situations recognize that having hope is fundamental to overcoming bad situations. Studies have been done which affirm that hopeful people in bad situations are likely to have a better outcome than people who are not hopeful. None of these professionals or studies, though, indicate that wishing does any good. Why not? Wishing does not help because it is not based in reality.
Hope, on the other hand, is based in reality. Hope builds on what you know or believe to be true (or, have faith in), rather than just what you want. Hoping for something leads to seeking ways to make it happen: from praying about it to working toward it.
God alone is completely worthy of our trust. God alone is the one in whom we can confidently place our hope. Even the most trustworthy human can let us down sometimes, but God never does.
Wishing can lead to disappointment and frustration. When a person wishes, but thinks he or she is hoping, and disappointment or frustration occurs, that person may give up on hoping. When hoping leads to despair, apathy, and shame, the person experiencing these things can allow God to use the challenge to strengthen him, or give in and give up, avoiding the act of hoping as much as possible in the future. Giving up on hope is unfortunate, for it is in our hoping in God that our faith in God is strengthened.
Three things which boost hope are: trust, patience, and humility. Like the hope blockers, these are attitudes or behaviors that may be influenced by outside forces, but ultimately are a choice we each have to make. Trust, patience, and humility actually have a circular relationship with hope. Each of these must be present in some degree before one can truly hope. And after we begin to hope, these three things strengthen and sustain hope.
These passages look towards a promise. A promised day where peace and love and joy will reign. As those in the day of Isaiah and in David’s psalm so greatly hoped, we are called to continue to hope for God’s Kingdom on earth. May we continue to strive for God’s promised day. May we focus on the need to hold onto hope, to continue dreaming of, and reaching for God’s promised day.
Thank you, God for hope. Strengthen us to have enough faith in you to have hope.
- Reflect on your life, recalling some of your hopes that became reality.
- How did you respond?
- What are some hopes that didn’t became reality?
- How did you respond?
- Where did you see God in all of this then?
- Where do you now see that God was in all this?
- How does constant hope change us?
- How does it change our world?