The Power of Hope
By Mark A. Finley
Someone wisely said, “You can live weeks without food, days without water, minutes without air, but hardly at all without hope.” Hope lifts our spirits and encourages our hearts. It gets us through life’s tough times by pointing us to a brighter tomorrow. It lifts our eyes from the earth below to the heavens above. It focuses on God’s promises rather than our problems. This lesson explores the power of hope.
1Throughout the Old Testament God’s people were often unfaithful to Him, drifting into sinful idolatry. Yet our Lord reached out to them. Read Jeremiah 29:11. What marvelous promise did the prophet Jeremiah give to the Israelites who were captive in Babylon?
In spite of Israel’s rebellion, God still had a destiny for them; their future was still in His hands. God promised to give them “a future and a hope.” No matter what challenges we face in our lives, God promises to give us a new future. We have the hope that He has a plan for our lives and that His future is better than our past.
2As Hosea’s wife, Gomer, was unfaithful to him, so Israel was unfaithful to the Lord. Gomer left her husband for other lovers and wandered in despair. In Hosea 2 the Valley of Achor represents all the hopelessness and despair that Gomer faced in her desperate situation. What encouraging words did Hosea speak to Gomer in Hosea 2:15?
Even in the midst of her hopelessness, God would open up a door of hope. What does a “door of hope” symbolize to you?
3Read Zechariah 9:11, 12. What urgent appeal does God give to those who have wandered from Him? What does He call His rebellious children? Why are these words so encouraging?
4 In a very real sense each one of us is trapped in the prison house of sin. We are in bondage to the evil one. We are both sinners by nature and sinners by choice. We are prisoners, but “prisoners of hope.” Read Romans 5:1, 2, 5. What has Jesus Christ done to remedy our desperate situation? How has this changed our lives?
Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus we can hope again. We are “justified” through Christ’s death on the cross. We have peace with God and can rejoice in the hope of a glorious future today, tomorrow, and forever in His eternal kingdom. As the result of everything Jesus has done for us, is now doing for us, and will yet do for us, we can rejoice in hope.
5Where is our only source of hope? Is it in our ability to solve problems, or our wisdom to sort out difficult situations? Read the following passages about where genuine hope comes from: Colossians 1:27; 1 Timothy 1:1; Hebrews 6:18.
To know Christ is to know hope. As we develop an authentic relationship with Jesus, hope floods into our lives. Hope and Jesus cannot be separated. If we want more hope, we need more Jesus.
6 What did the apostle Paul call the second coming of Jesus Christ in Titus 2:13?
The return of our Lord is the “blessed hope” for a world riddled with disease, disaster, and death. He is the only hope for our confused, chaotic planet. On a planet in rebellion against God, where wars wage, children starve, and the innocent suffer, the only real hope for this world’s overwhelming, seemingly unsolvable problems is the coming of Jesus.
7Until the vicious cycle of death is broken, death is inevitable for every human being. What will interrupt the march of death throughout history? Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and reflect upon the glorious hope of the return of our Lord and the grand reunion day when our loved ones are resurrected and together we ascend to meet Jesus in the air.
The Bible is a book filled with hope. Jesus created us. He has a plan for our lives. Even when we fail Him, He still cares and will open a “door of hope” in our valley of despair. Christ died for us. He lives for us. He is coming again for us. He has prepared a place in heaven especially for us and longs for us to be there.
If that doesn’t fill us with hope, what will?