I want to talk to you about hope. Hope is very real. We can feel it when we have it and we can sure feel it when it’s gone. The world is in desperate need of hope today. Have you been feeling hopeless lately?
I love this song that cries out to God for the hope we need.
Hope, hope, I need your hope
Down in this valley
Where the dark waters roll
Hope, hope, I need your hope
To meet me in the morning
And the evening so low
Sarah McMillan, Bright Wings
Uncertainty & Captivity = hopelessness
There are two basic situations that cause hopelessness : uncertainty & captivity: fear that things will change in ways that we don’t want & fear that things will not change in ways we do want. Both of these are so prevalent in our world today! Both the uncertainty about the future - will things only get worse? And captivity - feeling trapped & restricted - will it ever get better?
Watch this video for a message about Our Living Hope.
Feelings of hopelessness are most common in people whose days are lifeless, boring, idle and long (like lockdown). But they can also occur during busyness when life seems a treadmill of obligations & an endless rut of meaningless activity. Life has lost its satisfaction or sparkle. Like, “Since when did life become reduced to an endless chores, housework, cooking & cleaning up - eating and drinking and sleeping mixed in only with shopping, errands and doctors appointments??"
When the future looks no better… how do we sustain the light of hope in such times of darkness?
What is hope? We may define hope as: Looking forward with confidence and positive expectation that something good is going to happen to us. Hope helps us to live with unpredictability - when our future is uncertain or unclear, when options appear limited and possibilities diminish - hope helps us keep going with faith, peace & joy.
Hope is the anticipation of something that we really want to happen. And the faith to believe that it can and will happen.
Hoping Against all Hope
Abraham hoped against all hope; and still believed that what God had said would come to pass.
"Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead." (Romans 4:18-19)
Hoping vs Wishing
Hoping and wishing are not the same thing. Wishing is passive. We wish but we never really think or imagine it could happen. Like, “I know this couldn't happen in a million years, but....
“I wish I had a million dollars.”
“I wish I could lose 20 pounds.”
“I wish I was married,”
“I wish I wasn’t married,” lol
Hoping is actively waiting and believing for what we desire to manifest.
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31 King James Version (KJV)
Waiting With Hope
In Hebrew, the word used in this passage for 'wait' is 'kaveh' קוה which means more like 'hope'. It means we wait in hope. The Israeli National anthem is called Hatikvah התקווה - the Hope. It uses this same root word, kaveh. Jewish people were waiting, longing, hoping, for 2000 years & we see the miracle of Israel reborn today before our very eyes - the hope of millions of people for thousands of years.
Abraham waited with hope, faith, believing, until he was 99 years old for he promised son.
It’s not just waiting. It’s hoping while we wait. Kav (line), kivun (direction), kavanah (intentional) are all derivatives of this word, kaveh (hope). The Hebrew shows us that we need to be intentional in our waiting - set the line or direction of our expectation towards the Lord as we wait. Hoping involves our whole being - body, mind, soul & spirit. Even the Hebrew word for baptism, Mikvah, contains the word for hope. We are immersed in the waters of the mikvah; and emerge into the hope of new life.
Hoping vs Coping
Hoping is also not the same thing as coping either. Coping is doing just what we can just to get by - trying to get through another day. We may binge watch Netflix, or try to drown out our hopelessness in eating, drinking, or worse ….
Hope is as essential to our soul as air is to our physical existence. Without hope our soul withers & dies.
The Hebrew word for soul is nefesh. This word is related to the Hebrew word for breath, Neshama. Linshom -means 'to breathe.' Often, an Israeli will say to someone he or she loves, “Neshama sheli” - meaning 'you are my soul, my very breath.' It is a beautiful term of endearment.
When our hope begins to die, we feel like we can’t breathe. We are gasping for air, for life, for our very spiritual existence.
Today, in America, chaos & anarchy has broken out in race riots all over the country because one man was choked to death. He was begging for breath but because he was not able to breathe, he died.
Forces of darkness are trying to choke the very life out of us personally and as a nation. Hopelessness chokes the very life out of us; but we must resist the devil and he will flee from us. We have to fight against the hopelessness that is trying to drag us under. Hope is willing to get up one more time and give it another chance.
Hope is our anchor in the storms of life. When the storm winds blow, we are held fast. Without hope we begin to feel adrift on the vast expanse of ocean of life, lost, aimless, without purpose.
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain." Hebrews 6:19, Our hope is found behind the curtain, through intimacy with God in the inner sanctuary - the holy of holies - through new and living way in Yeshua the Messiah.
Who can bear a broken spirit?
We were born to hope; but one disappointment after another in life can break our spirit and cause us to lose hope. The spirit of a man sustains him in sickness but who can bear a broken spirit? (Prov. 18:14)
Our spirit can be broken and in need of healing in order for hope to be restored. Sometimes life hits us with a series of trials - we don’t even have time to recover from the last one or to catch our breath and we’re hit with another one. This can cause us to feel bruised & beaten up by life.
Just like our bodies can be injured; our hope can become damaged and need healing from too many disappointments. It takes time, effort and care (TLC); we may also need assistance to help us recover our hope. My daughter, Liat, somehow injured herself and has been in pain for months, making it difficult to work or even to move! We tried everything but had to reach out to doctors, orthopedic specialists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, and even massage therapists to assist in her healing; but it is going to be a process....
Healing of our hope doesn't always happen overnight. Other people can help us; but ultimately we need to reach out for our own ‘living hope’; to speak to our own soul and say, “Why so downcast O My soul, put your hope in God.”
Hope can fluctuate on any given day or hour. As much as we want to have hope, our hope can become weak, especially when we feel powerless or trapped .
David may have felt weak when King Saul was persecuting him - forcing David to run away and hide in the caves of Ein Gedi. He may have thought, “Will I ever be King of Israel or always a fugitive on the run?”
Joseph was destined to be a national leader; but was instead enslaved & forgotten in prison. He may have thought, “Is there any hope for me? Will I ever be a free man?”
Looking at our situation today: We may wonder, "Will this ever end? Will life ever return to normal? Will we be able to return to work? Church? The gym?? travel?
We don’t need to be ashamed of feeling hopeless or discouraged. It is a normal, natural part of being human. Demanding, depressing or demoralizing situations that continue over a long period of time can cause us to wonder if there is any hope for us.
We had Hoped....
The disciples on road to Emmaus knew hopelessness. After the crucifixion, they were discouraged and Yeshua found them walking away from Jerusalem. Hopelessness takes us away from our purpose.
They said, "but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. .” (Luke 24:21)
Maybe we also had hoped….again and again... but have been disappointed.
“We had hoped… to make friends in this new place but are still alone & lonely
“We had hoped.. For a new beginning but it just seems another dead end.
“We had hoped…. To be married by now but only see our friends getting engaged & we are still single.
“We had hoped…. For our loved one to be healed but they died (or we hoped for our own healing got worse )
“We had hoped… for this new job or new business to succeed but it didn’t work out
The crazy thing is that Yeshua was walking right with them but they didn’t recognize Him.
"As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him." (v. 15-16)
The disciples of Yeshua stood still, their faces downcast. (v. 17)
“Why so downcast o my soul? Put your hope in God. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 43:5)
Yeshua is called a living hope.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Yeshua ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah from the dead," 1 Peter 1:3 New International Version (NIV)
Could it be possible that the ‘Living Hope’ is walking right alongside us but we just don’t recognize Him?
"When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight." (v. 30-31)
We need to pray for God to open the eyes of our heart that we may recognize Him, our living hope. "Open the eyes of our heart Lord, Open the eyes of our heart, I want to see you. I want to see you."
Once they saw and recognized Yeshua, their living hope, they immediately turned around and headed back to Jerusalem. Hope will get us back on track; and send us in the right direction (kivun) in line with the purposes of God.
Perhaps we need to stop begging God to get us out of this situation; and instead ask Him to open our eyes to see Him in the situation - how He is working. God does His greatest and deepest work in the darkness - in hidden places. It is when the seed is buried in the ground and dies that it produces much fruit. (John 12:24)
I love this quote, “There never was a night that had no morning.” Light always follows the darkness.
“Weeping may last for a night but joy comes in the morning.”
What are some practical keys to strengthen our hope in these times?
Avoid negative people (Bad company corrupts good character); and don't spent too much time on news & social media. If we are around negative people & listen or watch too many negative reports, we can become negative and hopeless ourselves.
Find a ‘hope mentor’ - even if you can't find a hopeful person in your circle of contacts, you can read and watch inspirational materials, books, e-books, posts,sermon snippets on Instagram, You tube. Find your favorite inspirational channel and watch every day.
Listen to something positive and inspiration instead of just videos about the mark of the beast and the vaccine in our future.
Get outside - sunshine, garden, trees, birds, pet a cat, get out into nature. Walk with someone.
Do something a little different to get out of the rut: go to a park, BBQ outside. Walk by a river or lake. Watch ducks. Dog park - watch dogs play & romp around.
6. Exercise - walk, bike, move!
7. Go for coffee (latte) with a faith friend & share your heart & dream again, restore a vision beyond present circumstances. Write it down. Without a vision people perish. Write the vision & make it clear.
8. Create a vision board with images of things you would like to see happen in your life.
9. Get creative: create art, music, write, film, draw, sing…. The life of the spirit thrives in creativity - what do you feel inspired to do?
10. Meditate on Word of God - His presence; His Spirit
“ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. “ Romans 15:13
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Barren Women: Daughters of Zion (Bat Tziyon) Women of Hope Conference, Galilee, Israel