Have you ever had those days when you just feel a little down? There’s no real reason for it that you can pinpoint. No matter what you do, you just can’t shake the undercurrent of sadness, some unsettled feeling that things aren’t quite right. You might even cry out to God frequently during the day asking Him to show you why you’re feeling so down. I recently went through a period like that.
As my Father in heaven often does, He began to speak to me. Sometimes, He speaks directly into my heart and I know without a doubt that it’s His loving Spirit that’s speaking wisdom, counsel, and encouragement to me. But more often than not, He speaks through my environment. Lately, it seemed every random Christian blog I clicked on, every sermon I listened to, and every post that caught my attention on Twitter and Facebook all spoke of one theme. Hope.
My morning devotion today included this verse. “…the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel…” (Colossians 1:5). It caught my attention. It’s just a phrase in Paul’s lengthy greeting to the Colossians that I must have read many times in the past. I tend to gloss over the personal greetings in Paul’s letters so that I can hurry to the “meat” of the epistles. But today…this greeting captivated me. I read it over and over until the Lord began to speak to me about the meaning of hope.
It occurred to me that when we come to Jesus, we don’t know enough of Him to believe in Him. We also can’t love that which we don’t know; so we don’t come to Him because we love Him. We come to the Savior because something in us is crying out for hope. In the midst of the despair of life without purpose or meaning, we encounter the God who said that we mattered enough to have risked His very own existence for us. Hope rises up.
We say yes to Him because we grasp hold of this substance of hope that says that we matter, we are important, there is redemption, and there is a bright future. In this glimmer of hope, Jesus brings about the fulfillment of hope with salvation that leads to faith. Hope fulfilled becomes our tree of life. Now, we can move into believing that this God of covenant and promises, the God who gives us a future and a hope, can and will deliver on everything He’s ever said He would. Then as our faith in Him is justified over and over again, the process of falling in love with Him begins. We discover that there is no end to this journey because to know Him is to love Him and there is no limit to who He is, therefore no end to knowing Him. Our love deepens every day until our hearts are bursting with fulfilled hope, faith justified, and love that never ends.
So when we start to feel down for no reason at all, the God of hope challenges us. Where have you lost hope? What area have you given over to despair? Where has your heart grown sick because your hope has been deferred? Once we allow hopelessness to enter, we can’t have faith to believe. When we lose faith to believe in Him, our hearts grow cold to His presence. Religion replaces relationship and we are left with a form but no real function of intimacy.
The enemy lies with words like the following: It’s been too long. It’ll never happen. Maybe you got it wrong. Maybe that promise was never for you. You’re not good enough. You’re not growing fast enough. You’ll never catch up. You’re behind. That dream you have? It’s all an illusion. Let it go now before you get really hurt. You’ll never have that kind of favor. Who do you think you are?
Have you heard words like these in your soul and without really making a conscious decision to…somehow, you agreed with them? When you have an area where you have allowed the enemy’s filthy, stinky lies to have an effect on the glorious future and a hope you’ve been promised by your Redeemer, you find that your days are filled with the blahs and not the joys.
Remember this: When you know Jesus, no matter what your circumstance, there is always hope. He promised!