Hope Rises

Living Hope!

Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire;
Let me not sink to be a clod;
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God

–Amy Carmichael, missionary to India

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5 (NASB)

Imagine that you have been lost in the wilderness for several days. You’re suffering from exposure and are famished for lack of provision. Eating bugs simply isn’t cutting it, which is unfortunate because every insect within miles has taken nest in your hair and clothes. Slowly and painfully you trudge up a rocky hillside in search of a better vantage point, and as you finally peer over the brim of the hill, your suddenly attentive gaze settles upon the prettiest little community ever to capture your eyes.

What happens in your heart at this moment? Do you drop to your knees in despair? Do you begin to weep in desperate agony? Do fear and anxiety fill your heart? No, no, and no! Immediately your heart comes alive! A new sense of strength enters your bones. Even with the difficult journey remaining, you hopefully anticipate friendly people welcoming you into their homes for a hot bath and a warm, delicious meal.

Our Living Hope

Hope can be defined as “the desire for something good, with an underlying expectation that good will be received or achieved.” Our world is full of false hope, but Biblical hope is more than some vague belief. Built upon the reality of Christ, hope will carry us through our most difficult seasons.

I love that Peter writes of the “living hope” we have in Christ. Hope is not something we normally envision as being alive. Regardless of whether we have entered a wilderness season willingly in pursuit of God, or if circumstances beyond our control have left us feeling isolated and weary, we can expect a glorious inheritance from God because the Holy Spirit is with us wherever we go. No matter how low we may sink, or what confusion clouds our thinking, the full potential of heaven dwells within us through the person of the Holy Spirit! The secret of hope, then, involves giving Him the freedom to reign as God in our daily lives.

Stuff Happens

Early in youth, we are often full of hopefulness—we have not yet experienced enough of life’s pains and disappointments to know better. Some of us haven’t carried the full weight of never-ending burdens. We haven’t felt the betrayal of trust by those who should be worthy of our confidence. We haven’t yet grasped the degree to which selfishness and cruelty color this planet. As such worldly realities become real to us, a vague sense of futility may begin to cloud our vision; a feeling of hopelessness sinks into our hearts. This is a fallen world replete with human brokenness. We cannot help but experience difficulty—and even injustice—during our days on earth.

There are times when this entire world seems like a barren, unfriendly wilderness; days when all the news is bad and virtually every area of life seems difficult and unpleasant. All too often, difficult days extend into painful seasons as weariness and discouragement take root in our souls. “Why even bother to try to do good?” is a question we might find ourselves asking. If discouragement is our goal, opportunity abounds.

A particular effect of an unwelcomed wilderness experience is that a survey of the landscape around us can produce a disheartening sense of hopelessness. No matter what direction we travel, and regardless of how far, the natural eye convinces us that the distance is too great; therefore, every imaginable path becomes dark and foreboding. Still, much of our negativity is mostly a matter of perception.

Responding in Faith

Once again, the question at hand involves how we respond to a wilderness environment. Do we walk in integrity, seeking to glorify our Savior through all of our words and actions? Do we forgive freely? Do we treat others with honor and respect regardless of their perceived worthiness? Do we rivet our hope on that which is eternal and imperishable? It is a real hope that we need—one that never fails to provide strength in the midst of barren desert territory.

Not only is the hope that He provides unquenchable, it brings life to our weary hearts. In all honesty, I cannot even begin to understand the full extent of our hope in Christ. But as I peer over the crest of the hill and into the glory of the resurrected Christ’s nearness, my heart jumps with excitement. When illuminated by our living hope, a gray, dismal wilderness suddenly shines with an eternal glory!


This post is drawn from Chapter Twelve of Bob’s devotional: Champions in the Wilderness—Fifty-Two Devotions to Guide and Strengthen Emerging