Hope is infectious. It’s not something you teach, it’s something you catch.
-Ian Walton, CBN SA Director
I don’t know about you, but I certainly use the word hope a lot. I hope I pass all my exams. I hope you’re doing well. I hope to see you soon. I hope he recovers completely. We hope that many things will come to pass – especially in our daily lives. But in some things, the more dire situations, we want to hope… But we aren’t quite sure what that looks like, what it means or if there’s even a point to hoping.
South Africa has been living in somewhat of a turbulent atmosphere lately. 2019 saw protests against gender-based violence, incredible sport feats, political uproars, the country unifying during disasters. It certainly taught us all a lot about one another and brought many issues to the surface. But one thing I’m certain of is that as individuals and as a nation, we need hope.
Not the kind of optimistic hope when you hope you pass a test or didn’t actually get that speeding fine you just got flashed for. It’s the kind of hope that goes far deeper than surface level – its source isn’t based in our whims and momentary emotions. It’s the kind of hope that gets you through life’s heartbreaks.
Discovering True Hope
Last year I was challenged to take a more academic approach to my relationship with God. I’ve been thought of as being too optimistic in life. I decided to change things up a bit… Perhaps I had previously been too lighthearted about my relationship with God (or so I thought).
Hours of studying the Word, various meanings, watching sermons and listening to podcasts led me into having the revelation that a natural fruit of relationship with God is hope and joy. Not what I, and others, thought to be mere optimism.
When you encounter God, and get to know His heart through His word, revelation about His character is experienced. The more that’s revealed, the more you realise that your life is dependent on this hope and God created you to live a life filled with it. Peace, joy and faith flow from hope. They’re all interlinked.
Not only does diving into the Word help you to discover and experience God-given hope, but real-life experiences have the same results when you walk through them with God. In a recent article we spoke about how the crushing and pressing process is vital to becoming ‘new wine’ in Christ. This is true for hope too. Trying situations lead to hope.
“I find that this perseverance works character in me. And, almost without realizing it, a new hope is born within my soul. It is Jesus himself, his life, and his love, ‘being poured out in my heart.’” – Sarah Walton
To Hope is to be Expectant
To hope is to believe with full certainty that God’s goodness and promises will come to fruition in your life – however big or small.
“Biblical hope not only desires something good for the future – it expects it to happen.” John Piper
The kind of hope we speak about when we encourage one another and when pastors preach sermons on it, isn’t merely something you’re optimistic about or desire. It comes from a deeper source – a source we have become reliant on, as time and time again, He has come through for us and will continue to for the rest of our lives.
If hope is infectious, my natural progression from there would be to surround myself with people who carry the kind of hope I desire. Not because they’ll just give it to me, but because by spending time with people who are so in love with God and trust in His hope… You can’t not feed from that energy. You’ll want it more; you’ll seek it with more fervency. You will be encouraged to discover it for yourself. And from there, you’ll be so overjoyed by your experience and hope, that you won’t be able to stay silent. You’ll want to share it with those you love and those that you know that need this hope.
When Biblical hope becomes your lifeline, it impacts every part of your being. Encounters with God always leave you changed. Hope encounters give you otherworldly joy and peace. People notice that. People recognize that there’s something different, the spark in your eyes, the way you handle trials, the way you respond to people who have offended you.
My challenge to you is to seek true revelation of Biblical hope through relationship with God. To surround yourself with people who exude joy, because their hope is in God. To seek comfort in His word and to learn to place all of your hopes in His divine source rather than your own desires. And from there, share it with your communities. Going forth and reigniting hope in the hopeless, trusting that our heavenly Father will come through for each one of us.
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. Romans 15:13