Hopeful or Hope-filled

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love (Romans 5:5, NLT)

Yesterday began the new litergical Church year and the observance of Advent in preparation for Christmas. Around the world pastors went to before their congregations with a message of hope. My pastor was among them.

The question our pastor asked to consider was whether we are hopeful or hope-filled. The distinction he made between the two: hope is typically based in wishes, not certainty. While followers of Christ Jesus have a hope that is settled on the promises and provision of God. The very names we identify our God by should bring a stalwart and solid foundation for our hope: God the Lord (Adonai); God our Peace (Jehovah Shalom); God our Provider (Jehovah Jireh); and God the Covenant Keeper (Yahweh).

So as we face unknown and uncertain times in our lives, and prepare with hope for this season of Advent, I pray that we will face it with the confidence Paul describes in the text above: the hope we have from God will not disappoint us.

Now I’m already anticipating the questions and arguments–probably because I had them myself. “How can you be sure?” “God didn’t give me what I asked for.” “They still died and begged God for more time.” “I am still in pain.” “How can God expect me to wait longer for…” Disappointment upon disappointment.

And that’s where it could end, where we throw up our hands, and toss in the towel. Until we consider a concept that has been twisted and the distortions uplifted to support the disappointments. Ready? We don’t think like God.

Paul reminded the Corinthians that we don’t have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and in the Old Testament, Isaiah declares, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD (Isaiah 55:8, NIV).

Instead, if we allow God, believe God’s best is always for us, God will give us the desires of our heart (see Psalm 37:4). Believing this this truly enables us to echo with the psalmist, “The Lord is my provider, I have everything I need (Psalm 23:1).”

That’s the hope we build on and live into. That is the hope that will not disappoint. That hope is surely more than a thimble full of wishes.

A Prayer for Hope: Lord, I maintain my hope in You and I hold onto the assurance that what I am praying for is already accomplished in the name of Jesus. Your Word promises “no good thing does He withhold from those that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). I wait upon You for Your definition of the “good thing” You will not withhold from me. As David prayed in Psalm 18:1: “I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (biblestudytools.com, 6/20/22)

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