“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
One of the themes of Christmas is hope. It is also one of the three things we are told to pursue in 1 Corinthians 13:13. “And now abide faith, hope, and love; the greatest of these is love.” Hope is such an important part of life. It lifts us up when life seems to be falling apart all around us. So, what exactly is hope?
Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and a desire for a certain thing to happen. One dictionary describes it as an optimistic state of mind based on the expectation of a positive outcome of an event or the circumstances in one’s life. That may be true, but Biblical hope is more than that. Hope in God and His Word is a powerful, even a supernatural thing.
The Bible says that hope is the very thing that faith is made of. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) In other words, hope is the main ingredient of faith. Without hope we will never find faith. I like to think of hope as an inward force that moves us forward in the purpose in God. Hope gives us a reason to hang on when everything seems to be failing all around us.
Many people have lost hope in this crazy mixed-up world. The corona virus, political upheaval, chaos in society, and the distortion of truth has robbed people of hope. We turn on the evening news wondering – “what’s next?” Yet, the Good News in God’s Word never changes. In the midst of desperate times, God promises to give us a future and a hope! “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.” (Jeremiah 29:11-12) God simply waits for us to ask.
Christmas reminds us of hope. The nation of Israel had lost all hope. They had rejected God and His Word over and over again. Finally, God stopped speaking. For 400 years, there was no prophetic voice among the people. Had God finally given up on His people, Israel? Would they be lost both now and forever? It was in that time of hopeless that hope was born. A baby born in Bethlehem would restore hope to the hopeless and change the world – not just any baby, but the Son of God! Jesus came down from heaven to bring hope to all men everywhere.
Every year at this time, we are reminded that hope is still alive – not necessarily in the circumstances of life but in the person of Jesus Christ. You see, in Him we find hope in times of desperation. Like Israel two thousand years ago, God waits for us to ask. The promise has been given; we just need to open our hearts to receive God’s gift of hope.
God’s Word is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The promise He made through Jeremiah still holds true today. His thoughts toward us are thoughts of peace and not evil, to give us a future and a hope. My prayer for you and me is that we would rediscover the power of hope this Christmas, as we celebrate the very essence of hope, in the birth of Jesus Christ!