Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God (Psalm 42:5, 11, 43:5).
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5, NKJV).
I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed (Isaiah 49:23).
The longer a difficult situation like the COVID-19 crisis goes on, the harder it is to remain hopeful. Hope is easier when we can see the end, the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.
What Is Hope?
What is hope? Merriam Webster defines hope as “a desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment.” Hope can be a desire that we expect or believe will come true, but it can also be simply a wish, void of any and all certainty.
Right now, we are all thinking things such as: “I hope everyone I know stays healthy.” “I hope this virus doesn’t continue to spread.” “I hope scientists find a cure soon.”
Just because we “hope” it to be so does not mean we can place our hope in it when the outcome is so uncertain.
There isn’t a single definition for hope because there are two different types of hope: uncertain and certain. Below are a few examples of uncertain hope, especially in light of COVID-19.
Uncertain things in which to place your hope:
- Your plans, News, Other people
- Grocery store shelves, The economy, Your Health
- Technology, Your job/career, Finances
- The government, The future
This list could go on and on.
So, what is an example of certain hope? Some would say death and taxes, but we don’t typically hope for either of those things. There is only one certain hope and that is God. Everything else on earth can or will fail or disappoint you.
Think about it. The above list proves it. Not one of those things is certain. God and God alone is incapable of disappointing us. We can utterly and completely place our hope in Him.
Romans 5:5 says, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Hope definitely disappoints, so what is this passage saying? It is hope in God that doesn’t disappoint.
“I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed” (Isaiah 49:23). What a promise! Put your hope in God. You will know whether your hope has or has not been in God based on how disappointed you’ve felt lately. It’s the uncertain hopes that will land us in a pit of anxiety and despair.
Is Hope in God Truly Disappointment-Free?
I understand that sometimes it seems God disappoints or even fails. That is because we impose our will, our desires, and plans, onto Him and when that fails, we blame him. But they were our desires and plans to begin with, not His. His plans for us never fail. No one can thwart what God has decided.
COVID-19 is a result of the curse of the fall of man in Genesis 3. When Adam and Eve chose to rebel and sin against God, sickness and death entered our world. God tells us in the Bible that we will have to live with the consequences of sin, as they are our sins as well.
However, God is the one who prepared a way of salvation (spiritual healing/eternal life) and, even now, is preparing a place for us in heaven.
For all have sinned… (Romans 3:23, NKJV).
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23, ESV).
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:1-6, ESV).
Through belief and hope in Jesus — the Way, the Truth, and the Life — we can have forgiveness of sins and eternal life. We call this the good news of the gospel, and we all need a heaping dose of good news right now.
As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country (Proverbs 25:25).
Medicine Isn’t the Cure, Hope Is
Use your imagination for a moment. Imagine yourself sick with disappointment; so sick that you are physically aching. Now imagine yourself in the waiting room of a doctor’s office. You are tempted to flip through a magazine to pass the time, but your nerves will not let you. You haven’t slept, you haven’t eaten. You are shaky and weak. Finally, the nurse calls your name.
You walk apprehensively to the examining room. After seemingly endless minutes, the doctor enters and you describe your symptoms: insomnia, nausea, inability to focus, lack of energy, depression, stress headaches, possibly even suicidal thoughts. The doctor jots some notes on your chart, occasionally nodding and responding with an “mhmm.” Finally, he pulls out his prescription pad, scribbles a word, rips the page off and hands it to you. The page simply reads “Hope.”
Hope? That is not a medicine. You cannot swallow it or let it dissolve under your tongue. No pharmacist will fill this prescription! It’s useless. Plus, isn’t unfulfilled hope the reason I am in here in the first place?
You wad the paper up and throw it back at the physician and say, “Here, you keep your hope. I need something a LOT more effective!”
But there is nothing stronger than hope, is there?
What Does This Mean?
We cannot even put our hope in medicine or a vaccine at this time. We must put our hope in God! He is our refuge, our fortress, our strong tower, our deliverer… our hope.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God (Psalm 42:5).
©iStock/Getty Images Plus/ipopba
Kristi Walker has been a missionary in Berlin, Germany for over 19 years working with CrossWay International Baptist Church. She is the author of three books: Disappointment: A Subtle Path Away from Christ, Convinced: Applying Biblical Principles to Life’s Choices, and Big Picture: 66 Books, 1 Message.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
So when sin is not being confronted, or even viewed as sin at all, it’s time to address it with the hope of gently helping to restore believers caught in its web. Here are 10 sins that often go overlooked in Christian community.
Stock Footage & Music Courtesy of Soundstripe.com Thumbnail by Getty Images