When Hope Fades
By Mark A. Finley
Have you ever been through an experience in life when your hope for a positive outcome has faded? Have circumstances at times seemed grim? Has the outlook for the future appeared dark? You are not alone. Millions of people have faced similar circumstances. Some of them have eventually been crushed by these unfortunate life experiences. But others have not only survived—they have thrived. They have discovered how to be hopeful in life’s toughest times. In this month’s Bible lesson we will discover the source of strength as an anchor in any storm you might face.
But beyond this we will discover that there is hope to not only get through the storm, but there is incredible hope beyond the storm.
Read Romans 15:13. How does the apostle Paul describe God? And what word is used to describe the hope available to us through the Holy Spirit?
An all-knowing, all-powerful God is the source of our hope. When our hope fades, God is full of hope. Looking to Him rather than the difficulties we face, we can “abound” with hope. The apostle Paul mentions hope 41 times in his letters. Hope is desire accompanied by anticipation. It has to do with our inner longings for something better than we are experiencing, with the confident expectation that God will bring about that desire.
How does hope impact our attitudes? Read Psalms 16:9; 31:24; and 71:5, 6, and list the effects of hope on our outlook.
When facing discouraging circumstances, what question did Job ask about hope? How do David’s words in Psalms answer Job’s question? Compare Job 17:15 with Psalm 39:7 and Psalm 130:7.
What counsel did the apostle Paul give regarding discovering hope in God’s Word? Read Romans 15:4.
As we read the stories of Bible characters, we discover that they faced many of the same challenges we face today. They experienced health challenges, family problems, economic difficulties, misunderstandings, and a host of other difficulties that also trouble us. These men and women of God were not plastic saints in ivory towers immune from this world’s heartaches. Through it all they learned to trust God. Their hearts soared in hope, and ours can too.
What attributes of the hope that finds its source in God does the apostle Paul outline in Romans 5:2, 5?
As he faced his own challenges, how did Paul describe Jesus to his young colleague Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:1?
Although Paul experienced shipwrecks, beatings, stonings, death threats, and imprisonment, He could still write to Timothy of Jesus, his hope. For Paul, and all the apostles, focusing on Jesus, not on their trials, gave them a supernatural strength that buoyed their spirits, encouraged their hearts, and provided them with hope. This hope was not some superficial, emotional experience. It was the result of a bedrock faith in Jesus Christ.
What does the Bible point to as our ultimate, eternal hope? Read the following texts. Each of them provides a unique insight on Christians’ ultimate hope: 1 Corinthians 15:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; and Hebrews 7:19.
We Christians are filled with hope. Christ living within our hearts is well able to handle anything we must face in life. His strength is ours. His healing grace is ours. Salvation in Christ is ours. And beyond this life we look forward to the “blessed hope,” when these “mortal bodies” will be “clothed with immortality” and we will live in a land of hope forever.