Have you ever felt like at any moment the other shoe was going to drop? As though you weren’t safe to feel happy or be at peace? Feeling this way makes it hard to feel joy. It makes us wrap ourselves in blankets of anxiety, as if we could keep ourselves safe from disappointment and sorrow if we never let ourselves hope. This feeling of hopelessness is one that the prophet Jeremiah felt very acutely. A feeling that he expressed when he wrote,
“He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is, So I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord” Lamentations 3:16-18, ESV.
The prophet had been through so much difficulty and pain that he felt that his endurance and hope had perished. It is a natural response to pain, loss, and disappointment to lose hope. Proverbs 13:12 tells us,
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
A heart that has been put off again and again and met with disappointment upon disappointment becomes sickly. We all know the sick feeling we get when fear of another disappointment takes us hostage and emotionally paralyzes us in a prison of restless uncertainty and fretful sorrow. Jeremiah said that his difficulties, disappointment, and pain had led him to a place of feeling that his endurance and hope had altogether perished from before the Lord.
Hope and Endurance
Have you ever thought about the connection between hope and enduring in faith? I have been meditating on this connection today. It came to me as I was praying about a painful and disappointing situation that I have been dealing with for a few years now. A sadness that I have become all too familiar with set in as I prayed about my disappointment and anger over this situation. As I prayed, I was reminded of the connection between hope and being able to endure in faith.
Biblically speaking, hope is the joyful, certain expectation and anticipation that God will do what He said He would do. Hebrews 11:1 teaches that “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not yet seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The Word tells us that hope does not disappoint us (Romans 5:5) and that we have a living hope that has gone behind the veil. So certain is this hope that the Bible calls it an anchor for the soul.
Hope anchors us emotionally. This is why I think any understanding of Biblical hope devoid of recognizing hope’s intrinsic emotional aspect is insufficient. Christian hope is a Christ-centered, upward progression of the joyful, certain expectation and anticipation that produces faith in God. As hope produces belief, trust, and confidence in God, we have peace and joy. Peace and joy are emotional consequences of hoping and trusting God (John 14:27, 15:11). This peaceful joy enables us to endure despite the difficulties and disappointments we face. As the Word says, “The joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10), and Christ endured the shame of the cross for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Hope Has A Name
Our anchor of hope is Jesus Christ, Himself, the awesome Son of God raised from the dead, interceding for us in the heavenly tabernacle of God’s immediate presence. He is the Confidence that could never ultimately disappoint us because He and all that God is for us through our union with Him is our certain, joyful expectation and anticipation.
You see, Jesus is our joyful, certain expectation and anticipation, for He is our redemption and justification, our reconciliation, sanctification, and glorification. Christ is the means to mercy and giver of all grace. Christ is the high priest who has gone behind the veil, always interceding for us, comforting us in sorrow, giving us strength for today and endurance for tomorrow. Through our union with Him, we are given new life, promised new bodies, and assured of a new world in which there is no darkness, disappointment, pain, or sorrow (John 1:16-17; Romans 5:1-2; 1 Corinthians 1:30-31, 15:12ff; 2 Corinthians 2:5; Hebrews 6:16-20; 1 John 3:1-3; Jude 21; Revelation 21:3-9).
Hope In Him
Yet somehow, if we undergo too much difficulty and disappointment, our feelings of hope begin to wane. When this happens, our faith can suffer, and like Jeremiah, we often begin to feel that our endurance has perished. So what can we do when this happens? We can do as the prophet Jeremiah did. We can pray and call to mind all that Christ is for us.
Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore, I will hope in him.”
Lamentations 3:19-24, ESV
If you feel as if your hope is beginning to wane, call to mind the steadfast love and faithfulness of God. Call to mind all that God is for us in Christ. Call to mind the hope of the Gospel and eternal life in Him. As you do this, you will be strengthening your own soul, and in the echo of the loneliness and disappointment that you experience, you will hear your soul say, “Self, the Lord is your portion; therefore, hope in him. He will never disappoint you.”