I recently had a counselee ask me a very good question: “I know that I need to trust in God, but I don’t really understand what it means to hope in Him.” I had to think for a moment before answering that one – did I understand it myself? These questions are always great opportunities for me to grow as a follower of Christ and as a counselor. They stretch me and keep me on my toes and in the Word for my answers. And His Word doesn’t disappoint!
Obviously, our program is all about hope. Ladies come to us broken and hurting, many of them having tried many options for help to no avail, and they are hopeless. We know that the Bible offers great hope for them through Christ, and we want to give them a clear vision to see and cling to that hope. Romans 15:13 states, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Clearly, our God is a God of hope, and He wants us to experience the fullness of hope in in Him.
Hope, of course, is the topic we will be studying in the next few blog posts. We pray that you will be encouraged and renewed in hope as you follow along and learn with us. We’ll mostly focus on a wonderful passage from Romans that highlights hope well: Romans 8:18, 22-25:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
Paul, the writer of Romans, begins this little passage by talking about suffering. There are many trials we face in this life – abuse, illness, loss of a loved one or child, financial and marital difficulties, homelessness, despair, the list could go on. What Paul says here is not that our suffering means nothing and should just be brushed off as no big deal, but rather that when we truly understand the glory and everlasting satisfaction and joy that is coming in the future for believers – when we really get that – then our sufferings here on earth become much easier to bear. Our difficulties here on earth only make us yearn even more for heaven and eternity with our Savior when we truly understand and believe that eternity with Him outshines anything we can imagine.
Hope and belief are closely linked. We have to believe that something is true before we can eagerly hope that it will happen. And biblical hope is not some passive “well, I hope this happens, but we’ll see” kind of thing. It is believing that what the Bible says is true, and choosing to find joy in eager expectation, waiting for that outcome. This means that we have to be very cautious that we are interpreting the promises of the Word of God accurately and not having unbiblical expectations of a life of ease and prosperity here on this earth. The hope is yet to come, and if we choose to believe what the Bible teaches about eternity with the Lord, then we can begin to experience the hope that God desires for us.
Keep checking in, as we will continue to dig in to this great passage!