Hope is one of the abiding essentials in the plan of God –along with faith and love. How often we should remind ourselves that hope in Him should be preeminent – and yet how often I tend to become downcast, when things just seem to go wrong… when friends fail or misunderstand or when life’s problems just seem to multiply. Hope deferred makes the heart sick – sometimes to the point of failure and death. Hope lost is the saddest expressions of the human heart – often leading to despair. But when the hoped-for desire comes, it gladdens the soul, filling the heart with joy. Fulfilled hope warms the heart, delights the soul and makes the countenance shine.
J.C. Mackenzie puts it this way.. Hope is the anticipation, with the possibility of realisation. Hope is the chord which strikes pleasant desires for the future. Hope is everyone’s sunshine, the rainbow in the storm. Hope is the silver lining to the present cloud. Hope is a star set in the firmament of our lives to brighten and lighten – to show the way and encourage us along it. Hope differs in magnitude and brightness according to occasion. Hope is cordial for the desponding. Hope is a chain with many links.
But how God loves one that is cheerful and gracious, thankful and long-suffering. All gifts and graces He has generously bestowed to combat grief and grieving – each one a ray of sun or a drop of dew, for the one that is going through distresses. How precious are the many tiny pearls of hope – scattered through the Word of God. Precious promises and messages of hope, from the God and Giver of all hopefulness. How greatly they add to the courage and build up the strength of the one that is downcast. How markedly comforting are these jewels – shining through the pages of scripture.
How dearly must I hold fast to all such tokens of His love for me – especially during those times of difficulty, temptation, discouragement and pain. Hope thou in God, the psalmist reminds us: hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him – Who is the health of my countenance. Paul expounds this cherished word – “hope” in his famous chapter on love.. and now abideth faith, hope and love – hope being one of the three precious graces.
But it is not a hope in fanciful feeling and imagined ideals… but hope in Him. Hope in Him invigorates us to rise above life’s obstacles and discouragements. Hope in Him prods us to progress to the uppermost pinnacle of the Hill Difficulty. Hope encourages us to press forward despite critical knock-backs that we receive. Hope disciplines us to press on to the mark for the high calling of God in Him. Hope trains us to submit to long and arduous child-training and patient-endurance. Hope recognises chastisement as the love of the Father toward His child.. for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. Heb.12:6
Every great achievement for the Lord has the dynamic of hope underpinning it.. so shred the encumbrances that mar hope in your life – however they are clad.. whether a covering of fear; a cloak of disappointment or a stronghold of Satan. If we permit ourselves to weaken in hope.. it is a cancer that infects other graces. Love fails and faith falls, if hope is deferred or if hope is lost. So day by day and minute by minute let us hope in the Lord.. and we will become strong in faith, strong in love and strong in God. Oh that the God of hope may so supply us with the brimming fullness of Himself – that we will be complete in Him – with all joy and peace in believing – and that we may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Through the night of doubt and sorrow
Onward goes the pilgrim band,
Singing songs of expectation,
Marching to the promised land.
Clear before us through the darkness
Gleams and burns the guiding light:
Brother clasps the hand of brother,
Stepping fearless through the night.
One the light of God’s own presence,
O’er His ransomed people shed,
Chasing far the gloom and terror,
Brightening all the path we tread:
One the object of our journey,
One the faith which never tires,
One the earnest looking forward,
One the hope our God inspires.
One the strain that lips of thousands
Lift as from the heart of one;
One the conflict, one the peril
One the march in God begun:
One the gladness of rejoicing
On the far eternal shore,
Where the One almighty Father
Reigns in love for evermore.
Onward, therefore, pilgrim brothers,
Onward, with the cross our aid!
Bear its shame, and fight its battle,
Till we rest beneath its shade.
Soon shall come the great awaking,
Soon the rending of the tomb;
Then the scattering of all shadows,
And the end of toil and gloom.
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