I think we as disciples of Christ often fail to comprehend the scope of the power that God has placed within each of us through the Holy Spirit. We have the ability to see good manifested in our lives no matter what outside forces exert pressure on us. The apostle Paul was someone who knew and wrote about this ability in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9: We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.
It was Paul who also wrote that all things work together for good in Romans 8:28. And Paul had been through some tough experiences by the time he wrote those words, to be sure.
There is another passage which illustrates this point in Genesis 50, where Joseph is speaking to his brothers, who had sold him into slavery to the Egyptians. It is written, You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:20
It can be easy to let the hard things of life take us to that point of despair, but hope is just around the corner. Many times we hear 1 Thessalonians 4:13 read during Christian funerals, but I think Paul’s statement that “we do not grieve as those who are without hope” has meaning for us as we live our lives!
Marilyn Meberg writes in Irrepressible Hope, “. . . like faith, hope is also part of the optimism equation. Hope is the expectation of fulfillment that is anchored in God’s promise to meet my need . . . quite simply, we are optimistic because we have faith in whom we have placed our hope.” This explanation about hope has its foundation in 1 Timothy 4:10: Our hope is in the Living God.
This reminds me of the account in Exodus where Joshua and Caleb were able to see the size of the giants in the promised land in relation to the size of their God. They were able to come back to the Israelites confident that We will swallow them up . . .because the Lord is with us . . . Numbers 14:9
For me, personally, the enemy of hope is time. Time passes, my situation stays the same (or gets worse) and I have a harder and harder time holding on to hope. But the problem is that I have my hope set in a specific outcome. If I hold onto the truth of the power of the Holy Spirit within me, I place my hope in God, not in the outcome. I have to get my mind around the fact that God is everlasting. God is “time-full.” The Spirit of God is time-full—inhabiting eternity (Isaiah 57:15).
This is when God reminds me that I have access to the power of the Holy Spirit. I have the power to rest with my hope in the Living, Loving, Eternal God. I am not crushed, not driven to despair and never abandoned by God. That’s a truth I want to lay hold of and claim for my life.
How about you? How do keep from feeling hopeless in your life, no matter what things may look like?
Are there any specific passages of Scripture which minister to you?