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By Dr. Mike Murphy

Hope. A small word with the largest of meaning. A word that incorporates so much, it would all but require every letter of the alphabet in order to best explain. But a word that to listen to being spoken recently, you would think was nothing more than a four letter word.

With all that is going on in this nation and this world today, I recently paid close attention to how this word was being used by a few of our local and national leaders. And with each, I could hear the uncertainty as each answered, “We hope so.” At the same time I was hearing them speak, I read as others were trying to tell me how all hope was lost for this nation. And as fear could be heard directing the shouts of their answers, assurance could be heard in His voice as it softly spoke to me, remembering me that if my eyes were focused on Him, hope would be all I could see.

God’s Word tells me, “Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” (Proverbs 23:18). The hope that the Lord offers, the hope we read in each word of Scripture, is simply not the same hope this world knows. God’s definition of hope, and this world’s definition of hope, is as different as faith is from fear. Hope, in this world’s eyes, leaves you with doubt, as one of the most common phrases we hear today is, “I sure hope so.”

But when we look at how His Word defines hope for us, we see a confidence, a security, a certainty, that only His hand can offer. To best see this, look closely at Proverbs 10:28, which tells us, “The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.” With Him, or hope is based on more than just a simple expectation, our hope is based on the certainty that only joy from Him can bring. Hope leaves us, the Christian, not having to say, “I sure hope so”. But with the confidence of saying, “I have no doubt!”

One of the most famous verses where we read about hope, is found in the very first verse of what we refer to as the “faith chapter”. Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Our hope is not based on a feeling founded in doubt, but in a reality based on assurance. On the certainty of knowing, if the Lord tells us something, it is going to happen. On the assurance of knowing, every promise the Lord has given us is going to be fulfilled. A hope, grounded in faith, not confused and clouded by fear.

Our faith leaves us with the certainty that no matter what we might face, no matter what we might see, God is in control. Not filled with a fear, that finds doubt taking the upper hand and driving our emotions. A hope that leaves us ready to face tomorrow, because we know He is right here with us today.

As David was captured by the Philistines, and being brought in front of the king of Gath, he wrote these words. “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.” (Psalm 56:3). And just like David, our fears cannot control us, if His hands are guiding us. Words that should be permanently found on the tip of our tongue today. We so easily forget, there is nothing more contagious than the hope that only He can offer us. A hope that when spoken assuredly, truthfully, and lovingly, will draw people to it faster than we can count. A hope that will never lead us to speak foolish words of fear that the Lord has never once spoken, but man has so often been heard foolishly repeating.

Church, if that hope is guiding us, foolish words of fear will not be heard spoken by us. Words that are absent of the one thing this world needs right now more than ever. And the one thing that His presence in us, gives each of us an abundance of what this world desperately needs most. Hope!

A reality found in our hope that does not blind us from the trouble we see staring us in the eyes today. But one that calls us to lead all around us to act purposefully and wisely, planning and preparing best for tomorrow based on what we see coming from all that would look to trouble us and threaten us today. A hope that is not only greater, but wiser, that the foolishness and panic that fear and trouble will always look to bring our way. A hope that leaves us grounded in the truth, as the world around us looks to attach itself to any false promise that might suddenly sound good.

We know that there is nothing we can face today that is greater than the hope we find confidently and assuredly in each promise He has given us for tomorrow. A hope so deeply rooted in Him that it leaves our eyes focused on things that are greater than this world, not caught up in things that look to do nothing more than paralyze the world around us. Leaving this world to hear us speaking words of wisdom, calmness, and truth, that draws everyone in this world to stop, and careful listen to the hope we have to offer. A hope for tomorrow, that He is offering to all who will just reach out to Him for it today.

I pray with each fearful word of doubt we hear this world speak, that the world will hear two words of hopeful certainty coming from us. Words that allow us to calmly and wisely look at the fears of this world today, and show them the assurance of the hope He is giving us for tomorrow.

“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

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