“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” -Romans 8:24-25
The most depressed and lonely among us have hopes. Hope is a universal trait, even for those whose hopes are not the hopes they need the most. Ills of depression dampen hopes, and sometimes those hopes are not quite powerful enough to overcome the all-consuming and enervating pain. Loss of the final hope in such situations too often leads to suicide. This is the tragic result of losing all hope.
Hope is a necessity of life, and your own hopes are worth thoughtful consideration. Examine them, prioritize them, realistically appraise them, and do something with them! Discard truly unworthy hopes while keeping those that have value for producing good in your life. The determination to keep good hopes over lesser ones lies within your own heart and mind.
Would you always evaluate your hopes by yourself? Such is too often the case, and it doesn’t always ensure the best outcome. You have a sure and true companion to assist you if you will avail yourself of His help: God, even the one who made you. Seek His input, consult His Word, and ask His Spirit to give you insight. The Lord has promised you, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Believe Him.
Next, quality friends who share your faith in God should not be overlooked. If you have a spouse, in most cases, he or she should be your best friend. But I imagine most of us have one or two very close and trusted friends. However, you often feel your hopes are too personal to share with another. Try to get over that.
For the believer, the ultimate hope superseding all others is hope in God. All hopes ultimately rest with Him anyway because everything in your life depends on His care. You are in God’s hands, and His sovereignty is paramount in the direction and playing out of your life.
What exactly do you do with the hopes in your life? How do you move them toward more than hope – that is, hope realized? How do you invigorate them? With your hope in God, the answer is really simple. “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” This is His promise to any who will hear Him.
Invigorating hope in God is consciously and purposefully drawing closer to Him through the means He has given you to do just that: His Word, prayer, worship, true fellowship, communication, obedience, and your time. It is a spiritual matter of your own heart and will.
Take another hope, let’s say your health, especially if you are sick or have a disease. Your hope is most likely finding a cure; your hope is really to be healed. To invigorate such hope, you prayerfully pursue the right doctor’s care and steps of taking medicine, diet, or some other natural means which affects healing. Earnest prayer is always a proper path, but you do not simply hope for healing without pursuing tangible steps in seeking renewed health. In any case, your best answer is God’s revealed will, whether or not that is to bring you home to the place where there is no more pain.
Hopes need to be invigorated. You are the one who must pursue and bring vigor to those hopes which are wisely evaluated. When you have a hope which is worth pursuit, persevere in it until God clearly removes the reason to go after it. This requires patience in waiting on God for direction, fulfillment or a “no.”
One such hope may well be the spiritual regeneration of a non-believer, friend or not. I have had such hopes last most of a lifetime. These are hopes you can never grow weary in seeking fulfillment, which is that person’s salvation. Considering eternity is in view is all you need to say.
Hopes realized in this life are a treasure gained. If they are worthy, those hopes pursued but not yet realized actually draw you closer to God as you ask Him continually for an answer. Heaven will one day see the right reward placed in your hand. Both your invigorated hopes and your patience will be rewarded.
“Christ, of all my hopes the ground, Christ, the spring of all my joy, still in You may I be found, still for You my powers employ, still for You my powers employ.”
(First verse of Ralph Wardlaw’s hymn, “Christ, of All My Hopes the Ground,” 1817)
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