The human spirit needs hope to survive and to thrive. It is no different in ministry … you need hope to survive. This prayer email ministry reaches out to over 50 ministry personnel that I have had the blessing to see answer the call to ministry in a church I was pastor, or have worked as a ministry partner with me, or I have taught during my years as instructor at Hillsdale College. In retirement it is but one small way I try to minister to you my friend. I know that right now some of you are battling personal, physical, family and ministry challenges that are trying to destroy your hope. Solomon said, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12 One translator turned this into a very telling phrase. “When hope is crushed the heart is crushed.”
One young man who receives this prayer email has an infant boy who just turned 6 months old with serious medical needs that has never left the hospital since his birth. Another has an 8 year old daughter who is spending a month in St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital undergoing radiation. Yet others confronting personal, marriage and ministry issues. And still others weary from the struggles of church issues. These are real situations … and they tend to crush our hope. BUT . . .
To the believer HOPE is: A confident expectation that God is willing and able to fulfill His promises to us.
It’s not surprising if God created human beings with this craving for hope it would make sense that He would also serve as our ultimate hope. In fact, in
Romans 15:13 it describes God as the God of hope. All total there are 95 references to hope in the Old Testament. There are another 85 references in the New Testament. The theme of hope is woven all throughout scripture.
The Psalmist said, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God.”
Isaiah said, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength and they will sour like eagles.”
The Apostle Paul said, “May the hope of God fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
In God’s great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, kept in heaven for you. 1 Peter 1:4 Through His resurrection, Jesus Christ demonstrated once and for all beyond any doubt that He is God and that He really does possess the power to fulfill the promises that He makes to us. Promises that He’ll change our lives, promises that He’ll guide us, promises that He will walk side by side with us through the turbulence of life, promises that He can cause good to emerge from the personal problems that we face, promises that He will grant us eternal life in heaven with Him
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19 Our hope is only as good as what it is attached to, as what it is anchored to. Hope in and of itself has no power. You can wish for something, you can hope for something, you might feel a little better about it. We might fool ourselves into thinking everything’s ok. But the only way hope has any real power is when it’s anchored in the God who has real power.
Believers have hope because our past is forgiven.
“This I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning.” Lamentations 3:21 We can live with hope as followers of Jesus Christ because even though we may fail God (which we all do) and even though we may fail our children in some way (which we all do) and even though we may fail our spouse in some way (which we all do) even so God’s compassion, His forgiveness, His absolution for those wrongs we’ve done in our past is a renewable resource. It never is exhausted. It is fresh and it is available every single day.
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” 1 Timothy 6:17
Believers have hope because our future is assured.
“He saved us in His mercy – not by virtue of any moral achievement of ours… We are acquitted by His grace, and can look forward in hope to inheriting life eternal.” Titus 3:5,7
This is My Prayer for you, friends in ministry . . . In the words of the Apostle Paul
“This is my prayer: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the all-glorious Father, will give you spiritual wisdom and the insight to know more of Him that you may receive that inner illumination of the Spirit which will make you realize how great is the hope to which He is calling you – the magnificence and splendor of the inheritance promised to Christians – and how tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God. That power is the same divine energy which was demonstrated in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and gave Him the place of highest honor in heaven – a place that is infinitely superior to any command, authority, power or control, and which carries with it a name far beyond any name that could ever be used in this world or the world to come.” Ephesians 1:16-20