Heading into 2016, I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to study the word “HOPE”.
Gathering my study materials around me, I prepared to start in Genesis and find every time “hope” was used in the Bible.
Only much to my surprise, the word “hope” never appears in Genesis. Even though I assumed it would pop up in the stories of Joseph, Abraham, Moses, or the Exodus, I was shocked to find that “hope” isn’t used at all in the first 7 books of the Bible.
It isn’t until the tiny book of Ruth that we first see the word “hope” appear.
Even more surprising is the fact that the first mention of the word “hope” in the Bible comes from a woman who has absolutely no hope for her future. Believing that God has turned against her, Naomi is trying to convince her daughter-in-laws that her situation is absolutely hopeless and they should go back home so they can have a chance at a future. (Ruth 1:11-13)
Moving forward with my study, we see that the next time “hope” appears in the Bible is in 2 Kings 4:28 where a woman who is facing a crisis of hope after losing her child says to the prophet Elijah, “I told you not to get my hopes up!”
After that the word “hope” only appears twice before it is sprinkled throughout the story of Job, a man who lost everything and believed that his only hope was in eternity. His friends weren’t much help either as they seemed to do nothing but make his situation feel even more hopeless. (Don’t you just love friends like that?)
What struck me as I was looking at each of these three individuals is that all of them truly believed their situations were beyond hope. All they could see was their pain, their lack, and the extreme desperation of their situation.
To them, there really was no way out. There was no light at the end of the tunnel, no miracle on the horizon, no plan of escape.
Yet, as we read each of their stories we see know that even though they had no hope, God had a miracle planned for each of them and a divine purpose in their pain.
Turns out, Naomi did find hope in a kinsman redeemer that married her daughter-in-law, Ruth. Far from her life being over, God’s plan for Naomi included creating a legacy that wouldcontinue forever as an ancestor of King David and ultimately, Jesus.
The Shunammite woman in 2 Kings who couldn’t even bring herself to ask Elijah for a son, was given the miracle of seeing her son raised to life again.
Job 42 tells us that after Job’s suffering had accomplished its mission in Job’s life, “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.” (Job 42:14)
Even though each one of these people couldn’t see any hope in their situations, God saw beyond their limited expectations and gave them more than they could have even hoped or imagined.
The same God that worked in each one of their lives is still at work in our lives today. Just as He moved in their hopeless situations, He has a plan to work out His plan and His purposes in our hopeless situations today.
This gives up hope.
In this truth we find a confident expectation and desire for something good in the future. (The Biblical definition of hope)
Knowing that the same God Who moved mountains, parted seas, and did miracles to bring hope to the lives of His children in the past is now actively at work in our lives---that’s where we find hope.
The same God Who had a larger plan for Naomi’s life than she could ever imagine has an amazing plan for your life, too.
The same God Who performed a miracle to give a woman back her son has miracles in store for your life.
And the same God Who restored all that Job had lost is able to restore all that has been stolen in your life.
This gives us hope even in the situations of our lives that seem the most hopeless.
Even if you can’t see any signs of hope today, the good news is that God can.
Just because you feel hopeless doesn’t mean the situation is hopeless. As we see throughout the Bible, because of God, there is always hope.
That’s why it’s important that you stay close to God and keep following His plan for your life. Even if you can’t see what He sees, as you keep your eyes on Him, His Word tells that He will be faithful to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11, “For 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.