Ever have one of those days when it seems all hope is lost? A day when the bottom falls out of your world? Some of you may remember a TV show called Hee Haw. Quite often there would be a little ditty that went: "Gloom, despair and agony on me/ Deep, dark depression, excessive misery/ If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all/ Gloom, despair and agony on me."
Truth be told, don't we all have days, months or even years that feel that way? David even expresses that in the Psalms. When he penned Psalm 13 it wasn't a good day.
"I'm hurting, Lord—will you forget me forever? How much longer, Lord? Will you look the other way when I'm in need? How much longer must I cling to this constant grief? I've endured this shaking of my soul. So how much longer will my enemy have the upper hand? It's been long enough! Take a good look at me, God, and answer me!" (Ps. 13:1-3a, TPT).
In that moment, David could have joined the Hee Haw cast with the gloom-and-doom attitude. After all, he was hopeless in that moment. However, David knew a secret. It is a secret that God desires we all learn. That is the secret to moving from hopelessness to hopeful.
David continues "Breathe your life into my spirit. Bring light to my eyes in this pitch-black darkness or I will sleep the sleep of death. Don't let my enemy proclaim, 'I've prevailed over him.' For all my adversaries will celebrate when I fall" (Ps. 13:3b-4).
The first secret to the transition from hopelessness to hopeful is to pour out our complaint before the Lord. However, notice at the same time, David is asking God to pour His light back into David's life. In other words, his focus was shifting from the issue to the way-maker (God).
"Lord, I have always trusted in your kindness, so answer me. I will yet celebrate with passion and joy when your salvation lifts me up. I will sing my song of joy to you, the Most High, for in all of this you have strengthened my soul. My enemies say that I have no Savior, but I know that I have one in You!" (Ps. 13:5-6).
David begins to recount his walk with the Lord. He remembers that there is a history of kindness. With this he declares that he will celebrate with passion and joy. This is key—hopelessness will steal passion and joy from us. However, when we change our stance and shift our focus, it is passion and joy that is restored. This is the very thing that fertilizes the soil in which hope grows. Furthermore, as that soil is fertilized, we become stronger, or as Psalm 13:6 states, "you have strengthened my soul."
Hope is to be part of the believer's walk with the Lord and is mentioned in 121 verses in the King James Version of the Bible.
Within the English language we throw the word hope around without realizing the full meaning. In both Greek and Hebrew, the word has not only numerous meanings, but some meanings are stronger than others. We need to understand that biblical hope doesn't just wish or desire something. Biblical hope is packed with expectation! When we become filled with expectation we also become filled with anticipation. When that hope is cultivated, in the sphere of the kingdom of God, it grows faith that dreams the impossible dreams, and these dreams become possible due to the faithfulness of God.
Within the world's definition, hope is a feeling, but in the realm of biblical hope, it is a sure foundation—steadfast, steady and aligned with the kingdom of heaven.
Hope is not automatic, but it can be cultivated, and it can grow.
For more of Ruth Hendrickson's teaching on biblical hope, listen to the entire podcast here.
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