One of my favorite movies of all time is The Shawshank Redemption, starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. From that comes one of my favorite quotes, near the end of the film:
Andy Dufresne: "And remember, hope is a good thing. Maybe even the best of things, and good things never die."
My CEO, Steve Strang, spoke on hope the other day in our company meeting, prompting me think of Andy's speech from Shawshank.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines hope as: "To want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true."
The word hope shows up in the Bible 129 times in 121 different verses. Perhaps the most recognized of these verses is Hebrews 11:1, which says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
When quoting this Scripture, most people are talking about faith, but I believe faith and hope are intertwined. When we first come to faith, we place our hope in God's character—that He is who He says He is—and place our hope in God's promises; that He will do what He says He will. Then, when we believe that God will fulfill His promises even though we don't see those promises materializing just yet, we demonstrate true faith.
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 us." Hope does not disappoint. It's right there in black and white. If we place our hope in God, His Word says that we cannot be disappointed.
Some things we hope for may not come about when we want them to, but realize that God uses life's difficulties and Satan's attacks to build our character. The problems we run into will develop our perseverance, which in turn will strengthen our character, deepen our trust in God and give us greater confidence about the future.
You probably find your patience tested in some way every day. Thank God for these opportunities to grow and deal with them in His strength.
Sometimes we throw the word hope around frivolously. I know I do. On a daily basis, I might say things like:
- "I sure hope this stoplight doesn't last very long."
- "I sure hope the store still has that color shirt I want in my size."
- "I really hope it doesn't rain. I want to play softball this evening.
Those are legitimate things to hope for, but there's hardly a matter of life or death in any one of them. What are the hopes that I really desire God to honor in my life? What are my prayers?
- "I hope and pray my kids are safe at school and that they are trying their best."
- "I hope and pray my wife and I can get away together sometime soon. We need some alone time."
- "I hope and pray my ministry (and this column) will impact some people who really need it."
- "I hope and pray that my brother's marriage is healed."
- "I hope and pray that God will show me more ways to serve others and impact their lives."
- "In the name of Jesus, I hope and pray my mother's and my mother-in-law's minds are healed and restored."
- "I hope and pray our next president is a godly person and will surrender this country to God's authority."
All of the above are matters of trust between myself and God. I am trusting and believing that He will answer my prayers and honor my faith (hope) in Him.
What are some of the things that you hope for in life? Remember, hope is a good thing and nothing is impossible with God. Place your hope in Him and the promises for Him to give you the desires of your heart (Ps. 37:4) will come to fruition.
Romans 8:24 says, "For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance."
"And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you" (Ps. 39:7, MEV).
"For You are my hope, O Lord God; For you are my trust from my youth" (Ps. 71:5, MEV).
And as I always like to say, "there is that."
Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Online Manging Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to helping Christ followers strengthen their faith to get beyond their comfort zone and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. Please visit shawnakersministries.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shawn A. Akers is the online managing editor at Charisma Media. He is a published poet and published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. To sign up for his newsletter, "Step Out of the Boat," and other Charisma newsletters, click here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.
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