Keep Hope Alive

Brittany Vasquez

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5 NKJV

Something that I found interestingly worded in this scripture is that it speaks that hope does not disappoint. My first thought in reading this was, really? I thought about some scenarios in my life as I’m sure others of you possibly can as well, where God answered a prayer differently than expected, and in our very real emotions, disappointment was felt. As I’ve walked this faith, I have learned the following truth however. God knows how to settle our hearts and bring the healing that is needed to each unique matter. That being said, I could come to terms with some truths about hope. Hope is like a compass that points us in the direction of something beneficial to our future. Hope helps us choose a path that leads to betterment. It is a motivator to see something better ahead, and it puts us in motion to move towards something. We become more likely to act, lead and make choices in life that will promote. Hope does not disappoint in the sense that if the outcome of hope is that you’ve made better life promoting moves for yourself and your surroundings, you did not lose. Big steps or small. We wake up in the morning ready to take on and overcome the obstacles we face, with hope. Hope keeps us going when our back is up against the wall.

I happened to hear this fitting statement from a Pastor (Pastor Toure Roberts), expressing something about disappointment that felt like words of healing for the heart. He expresses that disappointment is an uninformed expectation. It is our expectation with lack of the facts as we are not all knowing like God is all knowing. Meanwhile, in speaking on hope, hope reminds us that things are forever changing, and puts hurt and pain into perspective. Joy comes in the morning God’s Word says. Seasons will change. Grabbing onto hope acknowledges that change is accessible for you. The scripture says that hope doesn’t disappoint because the LOVE of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit He’s given us. The (Kjv) says His love has been shed abroad, expressing that it is “largely distributed” and spread out widely in our hearts. Now there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love 1 John 4:18 reads. But without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6) Sometimes our hope is lacking in specific areas of our lives because we may start to feel like “maybe these certain areas are not of high importance”. We’ve waited and it starts to seem like maybe these matters are to remain. It’s been challenging to continue on hoping, so it’s slowly faded. It’s those areas where you wrestle within yourself and you think things like, “God this is easy for you to do. You are all powerful.” Or you think, “this isn’t a life or death matter, but it’s also not for selfish gain what I’m asking for, God this is a sound desire of my heart, and as matter of fact it’s a desire you gave me.” Or perhaps maybe it is a matter of life and death.” You walk throughout life and you are reminded sometimes through the life and stories of others that the reality of what you’re hoping for is common. It’s familiar. For so many others, this is life. Your matters have been a care for you that you’ve held on to for some time now and the only understanding you can grasp is that it’s maybe not going to happen for you. Dear friend, I want to call out the Word to you. Psalms 37:4 reads to Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Romans 8:32 says He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? God’s ways are higher. Isaiah 55:8, The Lord says: “My thoughts and my ways are not like yours.

“What if in some crazy way, in the brilliancy of God, disappointment was for development. To heal in a way that you have not been healed.” These are also words from Pastor Toure Roberts I found to be health to the soul. In knowing that the Word describes to us that hope deferred or delayed makes the heart sick, if God would allow us to face this, in His foreknowledge He is already prepared to heal better than before. Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, (Romans 5:3‭-‬4 ESV) The healing and hope restored is a special treasure after a”let down” has already happened. You’ve already faced disappointment. You’ve already felt like you’ve had to lose, but the disappointments were a blessing in disguise. Without being insensitive to situations, the matter is that disappointment became the steps you climbed back up to grasp a hold of hope again that brought you forward. What if the context of “the righteous man falls and gets back up” in proverbs 24:16 did not only mean falling to mistakes, sins and shortcomings? What if the righteous man/ or woman falls in their hopelessness. Life can come at you with a full onforce of a knockdown. Sometimes, it’s one thing after the other, or much is all happening at once. It weighs on you like unimaginable heaviness to your soul. It’s come to a point where you were simply existing, feeling numb and hopeless, walking about through life. Depression finds a gripping hold on you. You fight with everything inside you to get a grip on the day. Loneliness is a familiar state of your spirit. The posture of your soul is heavy ladened by disappointment and despair. My friend. When God calls you to rise up and to hope from that place, there is a newness of strength and clarity that comes. Hope from despair, now that is a hope. Hope from the quiet place where you felt alone and isolated in your spirit is where you were most vulnerable. This is where God renews life to you and breathes His breath of strength into your innermost being with healing.

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.Isaiah 40:31 ESV

In proverbs 18:21 it reads that there’s life and death in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. There’s an old wise saying that goes, ” if you don’t have something nice to say, than don’t say anything at all.” In the measure of wisdom God has yet given me, I have learned this to be tried and true! Let me highlight psalm 46:10 as it reads “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations (among people), I will be exalted in the earth!” One practical piece of wisdom I can share is the practice of stillness. When the storm hits or is beginning to rage. When it feels like life is hitting rock bottom. When your soul feels like a desert and you can’t even imagine up what to pray as you feel depleted and fatigued within. You don’t know what else to offer. You’ve been faithful. You’ve prayed, fasted, waited, sacrificed and sowed in your giving unto God. In knowing that scripture teaches that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, Romans 5:3-5 tells us we can rejoice. But when do we get to rejoice? Joy comes in the morning the Word declares! It will come. Your heart, environment and path will change. On the road towards this, stillness is wise. Again I say, If you don’t have something nice to say, about your life, your future and surroundings, stillness in this sense looks like not saying anything at all. Be still in your spirit. Make your requests known before God. Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Cry when you need to, lay all your emotions out to the one who can heal them and remain steady in the storm. There may come opportunity where you can talk and share with a trusted confidant, but in the words shared by a wise man, oftentimes you can’t hear from God until you can’t hear anybody else. Stillness in the sense that nothing else will settle you besides the proceeding Word and move of God before your life. Amongst others, we should be careful and wise in our conversations. Amongst God, we can be naked and unashamed.

Like ALL matters in life, proceed with wisdom. We can easily put our hope in places and people. Our hope should foremost be anchored in God! We never want to ignorantly hold ourselves hostage in destructive environments and relationships. God will build us up, His plans are not to harm, but to give us a future and a hope, to bring us to redemption and safety, and more.

In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short. Proverbs 24:14 NLT

Hope is contagious!

You want people around your surroundings who have Hope. As you are ready to listen and believe in the real possibility for a brighter future, this act is like adding necessary nourishment to your own soul. Recognize cause and effect in your life and actions. Look for opportunities to take on actions that lead you towards the mark. Don’t underestimate the small steps. It will be the progress that flows you forward. “Start small to end big.” Remain prayerful. Especially at the temptation to measure progress and success by time. Psalms 37:3 reads, Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

Lastly remember

Remember the things that make life worth living, showing gratitude for what already exists in your life and acknowledging what God has already done. Let me be real and honest in this point. At first, in the process, it is very possible to walk hand and hand with gratitude and disappointment. The grief of a shattered expectation, present with the recognition that some things could be far worse, or the understanding that yes in the midst of it all, you still have much to be grateful for currently existing. We are designed to look forward! Friends, be made perfect in God’s love! Whole and complete! God’s love has been largely distributed in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who reveals All truth to us. What else is worthy of believing besides the truth of the matter in the eyes of God, and not through the eyes of our disappointments. Remember we don’t have all the facts. The when, the where or the how.

Now we know that faith without works is dead. I found an interesting read in an article titled”The Difference Between Hope and Optimism,” By Arthur C. Brooks. Right underneath the tile it read, “For starters, hope is better,” and I could not agree more.The author came across some interesting data for use and it is partly summed up in the following paraphrases. One thing stated about optimism was that “optimism is the belief that things will turn out all right. When it came down to hope, in a report used from The Journal of Positive Psychology in 2013, researchers defined hope as “having the will and finding the way”. Hope encourages movement friends!

C Brooks shared these words in their closing statement “Optimism shows up uninvited and makes a nest, but hope requires that we make a nest for it and put out some tasty birdseed too!” I second that. Hope is a virtue that is to be protected!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 ESV

To whom it is reading this today, may the eyes of your heart be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, Ephesians 1:18 ESV

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