The old sailor looked at the skies and saw a dark storm coming. As the sea became rough and choppy, the old salt calmly lowered the heavy-chained anchor link by link, battened down the hatches and went to bed for the night.
He knew the storm would be rough. But he had faith in the grasp of the anchor. He knew his boat would be there in the morning.
Like that sailor, we have an "anchor" for our lives that can help us stand fast through the storms of life. It's called hope.
In biblical terms, hope is closely allied with faith.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that, faith is "the assurance of things hoped for" (Hebrews 11:1). Hope, therefore, is the object upon which we direct our focus and energies.
To the Christian, hope is the knowledge that we are being changed for the better as we trust in God's promises (Romans 8:28). It is the conviction that no matter the circumstances, God's plans for our lives are "for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11b NLT).
The Bible is full of examples of men and women who hoped in God's promises. The patriarch Abraham is held up for believers as a model of hope.
When Abraham was 75, God promised to bless him and give him many descendants, as numerous as the stars in the sky. Abraham heard these words and believed God (Genesis 15:6).
But despite his belief, Hebrews 6:15 explains, Abraham had to wait 25 years to see the fulfillment of his hope. Yet all the while, Abraham trusted in God, the Author of his hope, until he saw the promise come to pass.
You see, Abraham's hope wasn't in his own ability to father a child. It was rooted in a trustworthy, unchangeable God, and in His eternal promises.
The writer of Hebrews explains that God wants us to take encouragement from His character and hope in Him (Hebrews 6:16-18). In fact, the Scriptures describe this hope "… as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast" (Hebrews 6:19a).
What can cause our hope to go sour? Often, we hope in the wrong things. It's so easy to place our hope in the wrong things. It's so easy to place our hope in this material world -- what we can see, taste, touch, and feel. These things are controllable to us. But God says His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). In fact, the things of this world do not provide a firm foundation for our lives (Colossians 2:8).
Only when we look to the truly firm foundation for living -- Jesus Christ -- will we find a hope that can anchor our souls. It all begins with our relationship with God. If you have not been "born again," your hope is simply misplaced. If you are feeling hopeless right now, consider where your primary hope is grounded. If it's not in Jesus, come to Him now to find a hope unlike any other.
Jesus offers His hope freely to all who willingly come to Him, acknowledge their sin, and trust in His cleansing blood for eternal life. "I am the resurrection and the life," Jesus said, "He who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die" (John 11:25-26a).
Building a Foundation of Hope
Even if you know Jesus as your Savior, you can still lose hope. We learn from Proverbs that "hope deferred makes the heart sick" (Proverbs 13:12). When our hopes are delayed, we can be overcome by a deep sense of despair.
So, how did Abraham do it? How did he remain hopeful for more than two decades? Look at Abraham's relationship with God: he was a friend of God (2 Chronicles 20:7); he was also God's servant (Genesis 26:24); and he was totally obedient (Genesis 22).
You can do the same. Here are four practical steps you can take every day to build a sure foundation of hope that will carry you through the storms of life:
1. Submit yourself to God. God is the source of our hope. Come to Him in humility and He will restore you (1 Peter 5:6-7).
2. Strengthen your faith. Allow God's previously fulfilled promises to renew your hope. God has given us written record of countless ways He has provided hope for believers in centuries past. Look to these marvelous accounts for renewal (1 Chronicles 16:11-21).
3. Trust God's timing. Sometimes God answers our prayers and fulfills our hopes quickly. At other times, for His own divine reasons, He allows us to wait. Remember, it was through faith and patience that Abraham's hope was fulfilled.
4. Thank God today. Though it's arduous to rejoice as we wait for hopes to be fulfilled, rejoicing enables God to perfect us in ways we are unable to see at the time. And this kind of hope, purified in the crucible of waiting, and sometimes suffering, "does not disappoint" (Romans 5:1-5).
As You Pray
Have you lost hope? You can regain lost hope, with Jesus' help. Right now, turn to the Author of all hope and rest in Him.
Pray this prayer:
"Father, forgive me for not seeing You as You truly are. Please use Your Word to encourage me. Help me to hide it in my heart. Let Your Holy Spirit direct me moment-by-moment as I wait in the hope You have given me through our Lord Jesus Christ. In Jesus' name. Amen."
God's Word on Hope
"This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast" (Hebrews 6:29a).
Scriptures for Study
Hebrews 6:10-19, Romans 5:1-11 -- God's precious promise of hope
Job 13:13-16 -- Hopes' perseverance through trials
Psalm 33:13-22 -- Right and wrong objects of hope
Psalm 25:1-11 -- Hope's source of strength