There is a verse in Hebrews that talks about a hope that acts as a strong and trustworthy anchor for the soul. The verse has been an inspiration to me through much of my life. It has acted as a sort of beacon, reminding me of the security I find through faith in a God who keeps His promises. It reminds me why hope is important.
What would life be without hope? I imagine someone without hope would feel as if she had been set adrift in a wild and tumultuous sea with nothing to steady her. Where would she find her strength and stability? How could she find the courage to face life? Thinking about such a life brings such gratitude for the hope I find in God, because this hope anchors the soul to a strong and immovable foundation that does not shift or change through the storms of life. And oh, how the storms have raged!
If you can relate to the unsteady reality of hopelessness, and long to find your footing once again I invite you to join me as we delve into a Bible study on hope. I want to really unpack the concept and dig into Scripture on the issue. What is hope? Why does it matter? Where and how do people find it? What does the Bible say about hope? These are some of the questions we’re going to answer in a series I’m calling Hope as an Anchor: Creating a Season of Hope (you can find the whole series here once it is live). Join me, and find your own strong and trustworthy anchor along with me!
What is Hope?
First things first, let’s define hope. As a noun, it can be:
- A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
- A person or thing that may help or save someone.
- Grounds for believing that something good may happen. (Oxford)
And as a verb it can mean to:
- Want something to happen or be the case.
- Intend if possible to do something. (Oxford)
Job 11:18-19 – Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety. You will lie down unafraid, and many will look to you for help.
People have all kinds of hopes and dreams, from their desires for love and family stability, to aspirations for a career, and everything in between. We hope to travel to exotic places, do exciting things, and live prosperous lives. But for many of us, having hopes for this life alone will never satisfy.
We want to believe there is more. Our desire is to place our eager expectations in something greater. We understand that if this life is all there is, true hope is lost. If hope anchors the soul, we long to be anchored to something far more secure than a prosperous life.
Proverbs 11:7 – When the wicked die, their hopes die with them, for they rely on their own feeble strength.
Why Hope is Important
There is a book of the Bible that tells the story of a man who faced an unimaginable time of trial in his life. Scripture describes him as a righteous man who feared God and lived with integrity. His name was Job, and I believe his story shows us why hope is important.
Job’s life had been blessed. He had everything people tend to hope for: family, money, and honor. Until he didn’t. Satan got permission from God to test how true Job’s integrity really was. Would he continue to fear God and live righteously, even if God removed all the blessings from his life?
As the story unfolded, and Job’s faith was tested beyond imagining, there was a lot of talk about the idea of hope. We found Job vacillating between hope and hopelessness as his faith was rocked to its very core.
Job 17:11-16 – My days are over. My hopes have disappeared. My heart’s desires are broken. These men say that night is day; they claim that the darkness is light. What if I go to the grave and make my bed in darkness? What if I call the grave my father, and the maggot my mother or my sister? Where then is my hope? Can anyone find it? No, my hope will go down with me to the grave. We will rest together in the dust!
Job 13: 15-16 – God might kill me, but I have no other hope. I am going to argue my case with Him. But this is what will save me – I am not godless. If I were, I could not stand before Him.
In the end, Job found solace in his faith. Though it wavered, it did not fail, and because his hope was in God it was ultimately restored. Job’s life ended in greater prosperity and blessing than had been his before the trial, though nothing could erase the scars left by what had been lost.
Nonetheless, Job discovered exactly what we’re searching for. He realized why hope is important. He learned how hope anchors the soul!
Romans 5:3-5 – We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.
The Biblical Foundation of Hope
Job’s story is far from the only one in Scripture that helps us understand how hope anchors the soul. In fact, next week we’re going to look at several of those stories of hope to see what wisdom we can glean from them, but for now we’ll let Job’s story be enough. More than we want to look at more stories from the Bible, at this point we want to establish and understand the Biblical foundation of hope.
Psalm 39:6-7 – We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in You.
What is it about hope in God that makes people so secure? Why is this hope so much more rewarding than any other?
Psalm 146:3-5 – Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them. But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God.
Hope in God does not disappoint because it is forever. Unlike people, God doesn’t die. His reign will never end. His promises are certain. Again, we’re going to go into this in far more detail later in the series. In fact, next week we’re going to unpack our theme verse, Hebrews 6:19 to understand exactly what it is that we’re anchoring ourselves to when we put our trust in God.
But for now, let’ s just look at a few more verses that show us why hope in God is SO important and different from any other kind of hope.
Proverbs 10:28 – The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing.
1 Timothy 4:8-10 – Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying and everyone should accept it. This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.
Psalm 94:17-19 – Unless the Lord had helped me, I would have settled in the silence of the grave. I cried out, “I am slipping!” but Your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.
Psalm 62:5-8 – Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.
*Want to read more on the Biblical foundation of hope and learn about finding the kind of hope that lasts? Check out this awesome post from Lori Schumaker.
For tons of Scripture on what the Bible has to say about hope, check out this post from my friend Angie at Resounding His Love.
The Power of Hope: How Hope Anchors the Soul
As you can see, there is something unique about hope in God. It is a hope that has a power like nothing else, but I want to clarify one thing before we wrap up this week’s introduction to our series on hope.
I think people often mistake hope and faith, or at least think of them as synonymous. But in reality, hope is not the same as faith, but rather the foundation of faith. Faith is believing that what we hope for will actually happen.
Hebrews 11:1 – Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.
When we place our hope in God we are longing for a reality we cannot see. As this hope anchors the soul to the trustworthy promises of Scripture, and we begin to see the faithfulness of the One who made the promises, faith is born. Faith goes beyond hope and makes a reality of those desires and longings. That is the power of hope!
You may not be there yet, friend. That’s okay. We’re going to learn so much more as the series continues. If you find yourself hopeless, no doubt, you know better than anyone why hope is important. But perhaps you’re not quite ready to move from doubt to faith. I understand.
Can I ask that you simply allow hope to be ignited? Discover how hope anchors the soul and consider placing your hope in the one true God. Next week we’ll go much deeper into the Bible to give you confidence in the one in whom that hope has been placed, and in time, I believe faith will emerge. It will be an unshakable faith that can never again be shaken because it’s source will be in the eternal God who saves!
Psalm 42:5 – Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again – my Savior and my God!