This world is a hard place to live. Of course, when the whole planet shuts down because of a pandemic, it is obviously tough to live. But, even when everybody’s everything seems to be going fine, many people are silently suffering. Hope gets a person moving the right direction and keeps them moving well through life’s hard times.
I wrote Hope: Living Confidently in God to ignite hope in people experiencing life’s biggest challenges. Once a pastor asked me why I thought the positive T.V. preacher with the big smile was so popular. As I was waiting for the punchline, he said that in such a negative world, people craved a positive message. But doesn’t the Bible have a more substantive message of hope than some of his shallow messages? Absolutely.
I wanted to consider the positive message of hope from all over the Bible. People do crave a positive message, and the Bible’s message of hope is truly wonderful.
There is an important difference between the common definition of the word hope as a wishful desire for better things and the Bible’s definition of confident expectation of a positive future. The reason for the Bible’s intensified version comes from hope’s basis on the character of God and the promises of God. With that foundation, hope is so much stronger than mere wishful desires.
The format of the 31-Day Devotional series applies a portion of Scripture every day for a month. There are other excellent titles in the series dealing with specific problems such as pornography, anxiety, and anger. My contribution offers a month of hope inspired by the Bible. Hope is essential to enduring well, every kind of problem.
Hope can come from so many sources in the Bible. I tried to turn the Bible different directions like a diamond, so that hope could fire from its variety of facets. God’s powerful character inspires hope. Some of the days I recount incredible stories of God rescuing people from impossible situations. Other days highlight a specific promise that God has made and then walk out the hope-filled implications. Still other entries apply an entire Psalm to contemporary troubles, look forward to the return of Christ and the new heavens and the new earth.
After the brief explanation and application of the Bible, each day includes a question to consider and an action to take. Each devotional is only two pages or so. Hurting people, swimming in negativity can often only ingest small bits of truth. That is okay. The Bible is powerful and small bits add up. God’s truth taken in and applied day-by-day can create a spiritual reorientation toward the Lord and the incredible wealth of hope found in him. While some of your problems may not change, the Bible’s hope can completely change your outlook on your suffering. Now the Living God is included in your vision.
In addition to the endless variety of difficulties the world dishes up, you also have spiritual enemies that fight against your hopeful heart. It is like you have a leaky hope bucket. The problem is still there but your hope keeps leaking out as you face it. The devil loves to crowd God out of your thinking during the dark days of your life. Your own fleshly remaining sin also injects self into the equation. All you can see is you and your problem. When you stare at your problem without thinking about the Lord, your stare turns into despair.
Because Christians leak hope every day, I wrote this book to inspire hope every day. Thinking biblically about God’s greatness, love, and sovereign control of all things replenishes the hope in your bucket. Such biblical hope pushes out despair, providing energy and encouragement for you to honor the Lord in the midst of your trial.
God is pleased when his children hope in him. Psalm 147:10-11 say: “His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” God doesn’t love seeing his sons and daughters suffer, although God uses our trials to accomplish his work in us. He does love it when he sees us look beyond human means of rescue and look to him. When you aim your faith forward to his powerful and loving arms to gain confidence for a better future, you can know your God is pleased.
Can you have hope in such a deeply flawed world? Absolutely. God is much bigger than the world that he made. He can miraculously rescue you from the hardest problem, but he can also give you all of the grace you need to hope in him through your trial. My prayer is that God will use the biblical truths highlighted in Hope: Living Confidently in God to help you and me aim our faith forward and hope in God. Your future will be positive, with the Living God’s help.
By John Crotts