Hoping in God

We have become used to hearing and using the word HOPE a great deal recently.

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It has been in the newspapers and news programmes every other day. One of the most ambitious hopes is for a vaccine or an effective treatment for Covid, and we can all share the hope that something effective will be discovered and made available soon.

The risks and necessary precautions continue meantime, and we have other more immediate hopes, such as hoping to see and actually be near loved ones and little ones again soon; hoping to get away for a short (or longer) holiday break; hoping to have our church meetings again, and much more. And we mustn’t forget that many dear folk are just hoping for better health, trying to recover from the awful Covid infection and its results, and in other countries people now in great poverty are hoping that they will find employment again to earn money to support their families.

Difficult though it has been for some of us, there are thousands for whom it has been much worse, both during this pandemic and longer ago. Throughout history there have been many widespread tragedies caused by disease, famine, war, and so on.

The Bible tells us about one such tragedy that enveloped the whole city of Jerusalem in 586 BC. The prophet Jeremiah watched it happening and he was moved to tears as he wrote one of the saddest books of the Bible. It is called the “Lamentations of Jeremiah”, and is so sad that we might not want to read it. But we will miss something important if we don’t, for these great words of hope are found in chapter 3, verses 21-26:

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies

we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.

They are new every morning: great is Your faithfulness.

The Lord is my portion says my soul: therefore I will hope in Him.

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.

It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

Many a time we hope for something, “hoping for the best” we often call it, but we know that our hopes and ambitions might not materialise for we have no control over the future and what it might bring. Hoping in God is different. He never fails. If our hope and trust is in the Lord, we never need to doubt that He will definitely do what He has promised.

Trusting in the Lord Jesus brought us salvation from our sins and a guarantee of a place in heaven. Now we live “in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1.2). And this “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5.5). “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6.19). That is what we need and what we have right now!

In addition, are we not “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2.13)? He has promised to come again and that will change everything!

John Newton (1725-1807) wrote this lovely hymn –

Let us rejoice in Christ the Lord who claims us for His own.

The hope that’s built upon His Word can ne’er be overthrown.

As surely as He overcame, and conquered death and sin,

So surely those that trust His Word will all His triumph win.

And you know this other one by Edward Mote  (1797-1874) –

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name. 

On Christ the solid rock I stand

All other ground is sinking sand!