Hope in the Lord

By Kristi Bothur © 2012

“Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.” Psalm 130:7, NIV

I will always remember the phone call I got at work that day. It was my husband, and his tone was more serious than normal. He was calling with bad news. Someone close to me had died – from suicide. I was shocked – I never would have imagined this person choosing to end it all. Why? We learned more in the days that followed, and when we had sifted through all of the details, one fact remained. His circumstances had gotten to the point where he didn’t believe they would change, and he couldn’t imagine life going on “as is.” He had lost hope.

It has been said that humans can live for about 40 days without food, about three days without water, and about eight minutes without air – but not even a second without hope. While I’m not sure about the technical truth of that sentiment, it does express the vital importance of hope in our lives.

Hope. We hear the word so often that
we often confuse its meaning. We use it to talk about our desires and our expectations – hoping for rain, or sunshine, or a better job, or a spouse, or children. A quick internet search for quotes about hope yields half a billion results, and many of the top ones have to do with an expectation that your circumstances, however bad they seen, will turn out all right in the end.

But what do you do when you really don’t think your circumstances will change? Are you supposed to just believe they will? Is hope only about believing things will get better, or is there more to it than that?

The psalmist in the passage above pointed to a different kind of hope. Not hope that our circumstances will change, but hope “in the LORD.” And why? Because God is all-powerful and will give us a happily-ever-after ending? The reasons the psalmist gives are simple: The Lord is the source of unfailing love and redemption.

God wants our hope not to be in an event, or a set of circumstances, or even another person. In this fallen world, all of those will, at some point, fail. Instead, our hope is to be in him, trusting in his love and his salvation in spite of our circumstances.

Why does the psalmist point out these things? I think first, because when we are at the end of our rope, it is easy to question God’s love. If God really loved me, we think, my circumstances would be different. We are easily pulled into the belief that love protects from all harm, and so our circumstances cause us to question his love. And yet the psalmist assures us that God’s love is unfailing. When all else around us fails – our health, our friends, our finances – his love doesn’t.

We can also hope in God because with him is full redemption. God is not just into redemption, but full redemption. He redeems us completely. He wants to take every part of our lives and use it for his glory, even the things we can’t imagine being usable by him.

Placing our hope in God when life feels hopeless means choosing to believe in his love in spite of our circumstances and trusting Him to take our hopeless situation and use it for his glory. When we do, he takes that offering, however meager, and enables us not only to endure, but to soar.

Father, sometimes my situation feels so hopeless. Please help me to believe the truth of your love and your redemptive power. Take my life and make something beautiful of it. Amen.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kristi Bothur is a pastor's wife, teacher, and mother of five - two on earth and three in heaven. She has a heart for other women who have experienced the loss of children during pregnancy or in early infancy, and she has a passion for sharing the truth of God's word in a way that makes sense in everyday life. She and her husband are the founders of "Naomi's Circle", a ministry for parents of babies in heaven (www.naomiscircle.weebly.com). You are welcome to contact her at naomiscircle@gmail.com. Kristi lives in Columbia, South Carolina, with her husband, daughter, and son.

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