Leaky floats are not very fun in the swimming pool. As long as the float holds enough air to stay mostly above the water, kids will still try to make it work, but as the air escapes the fun starts to sink. Sometimes holes happen over an extended time of normal wear and tear, while other times a super-sized dad does the damage in one big leap.
Tough times poke holes in your heart causing your hope to leak out. Sometimes it comes from a manageable trial that just keeps going, but other times a huge situation leaps upon you. The future used to look bright and sunny, but now the storm clouds of despair darken the horizon.
Can a leaky heart be refilled with hope? Is there shelter from the ominous storms firing all around? It must be solid hope to really matter, though, the kind that fills the heart and heals the holes at the same time. A puff of well-wishing from a well-intentioned friend may inflate the float for a minute or two, but it will soon start sinking again.
The living God is the best source of hope. He made everything. He has all power. He knows all about your tough circumstances. And he knows the way through the maze.
The thought of God sounds promising to many people. “Yes, God must surely be the right answer to my impossibly hard questions.” But God’s creatures are notorious for making up ideas about God. Consider how people’s opinions about God are so widely varied. Although God certainly is the best source of hope, that pure hope must be generated by a right understanding of God, which comes through the Bible.
The Bible describes the way the Scriptures themselves inspire hope. “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom 15:4). This is from Paul in New Testament times looking back into the stories of the Old Testament Scriptures. Bible stories are not just for Sunday School classes or just getting the right answer in Bible trivia games––they literally energize hope.
Think of a familiar Bible story. I immediately thought of David and Goliath. The Philistines were fiercely oppressing Israel. Their super-sized champion, the giant Goliath, put a pagan challenge to the armies of Israel––give me a challenger––winner take all. King Saul and the rest of the Israelites shook in their sandals, before young David rose to the challenge. David was outmatched in size, strength, experience, and weaponry, but David had a heart full of hope in God. David killed Goliath with a sling and a stone and Goliath’s own sword.
The bigger point of that story was about God’s famous greatness, empowering faithful David to defeat the pagan giant, but stories like that also fill all believers with hope. God today is the same God as he was for David. He can strengthen his people today to overcome impossible odds. Hope in God is no shallow puff of air; it is solid, true, real, and effective.
Hebrews 11 is commonly called the Faith Chapter in the Bible, or the Hall of Faith. The whole chapter walks through the Old Testament giving summaries of some of the greatest heroes of faith in God in history. If you grew up hearing about Abraham, Sarah, Moses, and Joseph, reading Hebrews 11 is a happy trip down memory lane. But it’s purpose is more than memories. The author of Hebrews used that array of power-packed examples of faith to motivate his readers.
If they could persevere through massive trials, so can you. If God was faithful to them, he will be faithful to you too. In fact, the author of Hebrews ends that chapter by reminding the Hebrew Christians that they actually knew more about God and his plan than their Old Testament counterparts did. The Hebrews knew about Jesus Christ, the finale of God’s plan of redemption. “And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect” (Heb 11:39–40). If the old saints could have such effective hope in God, how much more could the Hebrews and could we have?
In Romans 4, Paul reminds his readers about Abraham and Sarah. God had promised the very old couple a baby boy. Twenty-fives years spanned the promise and the fulfillment. “In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised” (Rom 4:18–21).
When you have such a strong God and such a clear promise you can triumph in hope, even when you can’t imagine how the details will possibly work out. God gave us the record of Abraham and Sarah to build up our hope. We have the exact same God. God has provided wonderful records showing his strength and his character. He has provided amazing promises that can be counted upon completely.
We even have the incredible privilege of seeing how God’s dealings with people like Abraham and Sarah worked out historically. Their son Isaac was indeed born after those twenty-five long years. Isaac got married to Rebekah, and after twenty years she gave birth to twin boys, Jacob and Esau. Jacob had twelve sons including Judah and Joseph. Ultimately King David emerged from the line of Judah, and nearly 1,000 years later Jesus Christ was born of Mary in the direct line of King David.
Jesus lived perfectly and died as a substitute for sinners on the cross. On the third day, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob raised Jesus from the dead. The same powerful and wise God was working far more in the olden days than those old heroes of faith could have ever imagined. He is truly a God worth hoping in.
Is your heart suffering from hope deflation? Read your Bible. Ask God to use those true accounts to inspire your heart with real hope in your real world of trouble. He will do it. He loves it when people put their trust in him. He always proves just how strong, wise, and reliable he really is.
By John Crotts