The Way to Have Hope
Where, ultimately, do you find your hope?
The exile in Babylon left the people of Israel without any hope. Everything that had been theirs—all that had brought them joy—had vanished, left far behind in Judah. Jeremiah expressed their common sentiment: “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the LORD” (Lamentations 3:18). Yet just a few verses later, his tone completely changes: “This I call to mind, and therefore I have hope” (v 21). The circumstances hadn’t improved. Nothing had changed. So why the sudden positivity?
The answer is simple: because of faith.
Christianity is about history. It’s about reality. It’s about real people in real time having real encounters with a real God. It’s not fiction. And so it makes a real difference.
No one’s experience of this life is marked only by great seasons of joy and triumph. Difficulties confront us with our finitude. Our loved ones die, marriages disintegrate even when we’ve done our best to sustain them, our health proves frail, and our failures from the past arise like demons in the night.
So what do we need to do when we encounter life’s difficulties? We need to do what Jeremiah does! He starts with his faith—with what he believes about God—and he thinks. He brings his mind to bear upon his feelings—and so must we. In our trials, we must remember who God is and then bring our honest petitions before Him. You can pray, “Gracious God, You made me. You love me in Jesus. You’ve promised that You’ll hold me fast. I’m not feeling very secure right now, Lord, but I also know what Your word says: that Your steadfast love never ceases and Your mercies never come to an end.”
In the midst of triumphs and trials alike, here is what can give you stability: that God’s steadfast love and mercies toward you will never expire. Rest secure in this, then: that though all hell may be let loose against you, the Lord God omnipotent reigns, and He does so perfectly, with love and mercy. He will accomplish His purposes. Nothing can stand in His way. Call to mind these truths in the day of trouble and you can live with an unassailable hope in your heart and remain firm in your faith to the end.
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
16He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
and made me cower in ashes;
17my soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness1 is;
18so I say, “My endurance has perished;
so has my hope from the Lord.”
19Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
20My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
21But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;2
his mercies never come to an end;
23they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
25The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
26It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
27It is good for a man that he bear
the yoke in his youth.
28Let him sit alone in silence
when it is laid on him;
29let him put his mouth in the dust—
there may yet be hope;
30let him give his cheek to the one who strikes,
and let him be filled with insults.
31For the Lord will not
cast off forever,
32but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
33for he does not afflict from his heart
or grieve the children of men.
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