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November 2018

THE GOD OF HOPE

During this last week of catastrophic events here in California where I live, many are asking ‘where was God during the mass shootings that killed 12 innocent people’; and then a few hours later, a terrible wildfire broke out around the same area which left hundreds of homes destroyed, and many lives lost.

I believe God was there working through the brave first responders; the firefighters, the police, the paramedics etc.  Until Jesus comes back we will continue to have tragedies, and we will continue to see God working through the goodness of His people.
 
Sometimes when there seems no hope, we need to turn to the God of hope.    

As a young Christian I was confused when I read texts such as Titus 2:13 that talks about the ‘blessed hope’.

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ”.  

The confusion came about because my English dictionary defined ‘hope’ as “the feeling that what is wanted can happen or an event will turn out as desired”.  For instance, a brilliant young gymnast may have high hopes of making the Olympic team, but hoping doesn’t make an athlete!

If the writers of my dictionary were correct, does this mean that God’s faithfulness or His promises could be in doubt?  I could only ‘hope’ or ‘wish’ He would keep His promise.

That wasn’t very comforting to me.

It took some time and Bible study to discover that our belief in the ‘Blessed Hope’ is based in a person, the God of Hope, not just our optimistic feelings about the future.      “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope…….” Romans 15:3.

While the English word ‘hope’ contains an element of uncertainty, the Greek words of the New Testament used to describe the ‘Blessed Hope’ speak with overwhelming certainty about our future in Christ.

The Blessed Hope is not a Blessed Wish.

When Jesus shed His blood on Calvary, our hope became sure. Jesus became our great affirmation, which is what God’s hope is all about. He is not “maybe”, but “Yes and Amen”.

How does hope differ from faith?  They are separate but closely connected.

Faith gives life and reason to hope.  Hebrews 11:1 says;  “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”.

King David said in Psalm 130:5; “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word,  I put my hope.”

Ephesians 2:12-13 tells us to “remember the time we were separate from Christ, without hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ”.

We read in Hebrews 6:19, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure”.

God’s hope is our anchor that cannot be moved!

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit”.—Romans 15:13.

Man’s hope is shrouded in uncertainty; God’s hope is so sure it fills us with joy and peace. Now that’s a ‘hope’ worth clinging to.

2 Corinthians 4:18  “We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.  For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

May these words give you hope and peace in times of confusion and sadness.

God bless, Beverley

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