Where do you find hope in uncertain times?
Updated: Jul 16
I sat on the right side of the audience listening to the presenter talk about Bible translation. The speaker was David Cummings, the former International President of Wycliffe Bible Translators. He was telling us about the process missionaries went through to live with a people group, learn their language, write it down, and eventually translate the Bible into the native language. Cummings said there was one word that translators needed to identify, to translate the Bible into the native language. He challenged us to guess the word.
We filled an entire white board with words, but none of them were right.
Finally, someone (or maybe even Cummings) said “HOPE.” Hope was the word, the concept translators needed to understand.
What is hope?
In America, its common to hear phrases like, “I hope the weather will be good,” “I hope you have a good time,” or “I hope you have a great day!” In those instances, it feels like we are watering down hope to wishful thinking.
Isn’t hope so much more than that?
Dr. Dale Archer, in an article called “The Power of Hope” said, “If I could find a way to package and dispense hope, I would have a pill more powerful than any antidepressant on the market.”
Ian Chipman says this about hope, “it’s [hope] a future-oriented, positive emotion that often emerges in challenging and difficult circumstances. People don’t feel hope when things are great; it’s when they experience a lot of uncertainty and anxiety that hope emerges.”
Recently I was talking to an unbelieving friend of mine. She was talking about the impact all the uncertainty in our world was having on her. She didn’t know what to hope for. Could she hope to take a trip this summer? Could she hope that things would be back to normal? And if so, by when? It seemed that, for her, hope was a moving target.
I found myself wondering, do we have to know what we put our hope in, before we know what we hope for?
Thankfully, as believers in Jesus Christ, what we put our hope in isn’t a moving target.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39).
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’” (Isaiah 41:13)
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.” (Psalm 62:5)
This week someone shared with me that he had lost his wallet. The more he thought about all the valuable things in it, the more unsettled he felt. He and his wife started a search. With each passing minute their anxiety grew. After nearly an hour of searching, he went to the place where he normally puts his wallet, a dresser drawer. This time he reached back a little farther into the drawer. Sure enough, that’s where his wallet was, right where he always put it!
Where are you putting your hope right now?
What has this uncertain time revealed to you about where you put your hope?
Have you misplaced it by putting your hope in things other than Jesus Christ?
Is it where you usually put it? Maybe it is where it has always been, and God is urging you to reach a little deeper into the drawer?
One of my favorite books is called The Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith. In the book Smith writes about why Christians are so unhappy, stating that they have under-trusted God. With all the great promises of God in the Bible we should be the happiest of people! Yet we are easily distracted, discouraged, and take matters into our own hands. She reminds us that we trust, and God works.
The prophet Isaiah says it this way, “He [God] will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)
Are you ready for some peace?
Have you steadfastly put your hope in the all-powerful, all knowing, almighty God?
Are you willing to switch your focus from uncertainty and problems to God’s presence and promises?
What is one way you can dig a little deeper into the “drawer,” the storehouse of scripture, and remind yourself of God’s faithfulness?
 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201307/the-power-hope  https://qz.com/1004876/people-who-lash-out-first-in-personal-relationships-do-so-because-they-lack-hope/