By Courtenay Gueta, Contributing Writer
At a recent women’s meeting, we were asked to share something unknown about us and something we fear. (Our women’s group gets vulnerable and real.) Each woman was open and shared her heart. One woman said, “I’m afraid when I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
My compassionate and sympathetic response to her was, “You must be afraid all the time.”
As her eyes welled with tears, she said, “I am.”
Her story continues as she fights to get free from codependency while still being married to an addict. As a mother of five, she expressed her hope for him to become the father they need and the husband she desires. This is when the conversation got really good and the purpose of women’s group proved itself strong. Our discussion moved to hope.
The world knows hope as a feeling of expectation or desire or a feeling of trust. It is not based in anything but a person’s own feelings or wishes. The world puts hope in people or things. When this hope is disappointed, as it often will be, then people lose trust in God. And in some cases, the ability to hope is lost.
Christians are not immune to this way of hoping. Like this sister expressed, she hopes her husband will be the man she needs him to be. When this is broken down, she hopes for him to meet her needs. How many of us, as Christian women, are hoping for our husband, children, friends, family meet our needs?
When we put our hope in anything other than God we will be eventually be disappointed. Our hope will run out. However, when we put our hope in God it is eternal.
A favorite adage is, “Love man. Trust God.” This is much easier to do when your hope is in the right place. We can expect good things from our relationships. That is normal and healthy. However, when we are let down, the Bible instructs us to let love cover a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
So how do you do it? How do you let your hope consistently be eternal while still having reasonable expectations in your relationships?
First, look for God to meet your needs, all of them. It’s so easy to expect your husband to be your comforter, protector, refuge, provider and ultimate lover. When I list them like that I think, “who in the world would be able to meet all those needs BUT God. Yet we constantly look to other people, stuff, and even food to do what the Lord wants us to ask him for anyway!
God is Your Comforter.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
The trust is the Lord is your comforter . So any need you have, emotional, physical, financial or otherwise, take it to Jesus first. And though we are comforter so we may comforter others. The comfort we receive to give to other is to lead them right back to the throne so they can receive the same thing we did from Jesus.
Don’t Just Hope – Praise.
But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. Psalm 71:14
When taking your hopes to the Lord remember to accompany them with praise. And more praise. And more praise. It is hard to use your hope and your faith when you see nothing happening! This is why we are instructed to praise. Praise reminds us of the goodness and faithfulness of God.
David wrote many of the Psalms while he was in despair. He was running for his life, hiding out in the mountains. Yet, in all his despair he reminded himself of the faithfulness, the grace and mercy and the love of God through the psalms. Praise is not for God. It is for you. It’s to remind you God is faithful and loving.
Endure for Your Soul’s Sake
And endurance produces character, and character produces hope. Romans 5:4
Don’t give up. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. This includes enduring. This includes holding on to the eternal hope that are the promises of God and the unconditionally loving character of God.
You will benefit if you don’t give up. Your character will be strengthened. And did you see what happens when character grows — it produces hope. This means the next time you are faced with something that is hard to hope for and hard to wait on it will be easier. It’s not going to be easier because you are awesome in your own strength but, because you have figured out how to praise, how to wait on Jesus and how to put your hope in the eternal one.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
Over and over we are told to pray constantly. I have thought about why this is good for me and I am betting it is the same for you… I worry. I fret. I get angry. I get in fear. I have anxiety.
During all these feelings there is a thought process happening. Do you know what I have learned? Instead of letting the feelings totally take over my attitude and behavior, I see them as an alarm and a reminder. It is a reminder to PRAY! It is a reminder to take all of the stuff I am trying to do in my own fleshy strength and give it to God in prayer. (Yep, I admit it, when I feel those things it’s usually when I have forgotten I have a direct line to the ultimate helper through prayer.)
These four things are essential to tapping into eternal hope. We are given the support and tips and tricks right there in the Bible. The key is remembering.
So the next time your find your hope broken or disappointed, remember to tap into the one who is eternal hope. The only one who will never disappoint. The only one who can meet all your needs – Jesus.
Courtenay writes for her blog, Steady Heart Life.
She is also a contributing writer at Sweet Jesus Ministries.
This article is part of the #RealHope blog series and Hope Is Holiday Devotional Study.
For information regarding our current and future studies, visit our Bible study page.