No Hope

“And on the third day they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned” (Acts 27:19-20).

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I reasoned that to fully appreciate how great our hope is, I would need to consider the negative: that is to say, what it is like to have “no hope”.

"There's nothing else we can do for you." These are the last words a surgeon wants to tell a patient. The words “no hope” are so chilling.  We should remember that at one time we were all “without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12), which compels us to appreciate our current status “in Christ Jesus”. There is deep sorrow for those who mourn, having “no hope.”

On Paul’s hazardous sea journey to Rome, 275 other passengers had come to the point where all hope was abandoned. It is not difficult to imagine being battered by a storm, having no idea where you are, running out of food supplies and facing what seems to be certain death. Paul encourages them to take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.” His confidence in God's presence (to whom he belonged and whom he worshipped) and God’s promise gave him a hope that produced perseverance.

I have not experienced being battered by a sea storm but, like many readers, I have endured some of the seismic “storms of life”. In such times, realising that “In Christ ALONE, my hope is found”, I have also found God’s presence and promises essential to daily life – especially the promises found in the Psalms. One of the main reasons that the scriptures were written was to stimulate hope. “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”(Romans 15:4)

“I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Hope is not just an “optional extra”, nor is it simply about the future – hope shapes my “today”,  and God’s plan is to deliver this hope.