We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
- Hebrews 6:19 NIV
The last time I went through a dark and difficult period in my life, the Lord showed me this verse and gave me new and valuable insight through it. He showed me how I could remain more stable during trials and tribulations if I would purposefully place my hope in Him and His Word, allowing that hope to act as an anchor for my soul. As He reminded me that our soul is made up of our mind, will, and emotions, I began to understand how learning the principles in this verse could make me more stable, and how they could help me to avoid being tossed to and fro by the people and circumstances surrounding me.
We could all benefit from using some positive self-talk the way the psalmists often did. Psalm 43:5 (NIV) says: "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God." The author is talking to the soulish part of himself here, saying that by placing his hope firmly in God, he will find relief from discouragement and despair. In Psalm 27:13 (NASB), David writes: "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Notice that David didn't have to actually SEE God's goodness before he found relief from despair; he only had to BELIEVE he would see it, and that was enough.
Perhaps when you're going through difficult times, you find it hard to believe. I can relate to that. But recently, God led me to some wonderful insights from a godly man who said that if we think of faith as a choice, rather than an ability, we will understand that faith is actually simpler than it seems. And we can ask the Lord to help us to make that choice. Psalm 31:24 (NKJV) says: "Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord." As we do our part by making the decision to take our stand in faith, and to place our hope in God, He has promised to do His part by strengthening us, and helping us to stand firm till the victory comes.
Look at the role that hope plays in the psalmist's prayer in Psalm 33:22 (NIV): "May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You." The author is basically saying here, "Bless us to the same degree that we put our hope in You, Lord." The Amplified translation says it best: "Let Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us in proportion to our waiting and hoping for You." The Bible makes it clear that God is pleased when we place our hope in Him and His goodness, and He is eager to reward us when we do. Psalm 33:18-19 (NIV) says: "The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine." This is God's promise of protection and provision to those who choose to put their trust in Him in times of adversity.
As long as I can remember, I have always believed in God. But it wasn't until I began devoting myself to His Word that I had something tangible that I could hang on to when times got rough. I can easily relate to the psalmist's sentiment when he says, "Your Word is my only source of hope." (Psalm 119:114 NLT) There have been many times when my faith was stretched to the limit, and all I could do was cling to God's promise in Isaiah 49:23 (NIV): "Those who hope in Me will not be disappointed." I can't promise that every time you place your hope in God, things will turn out exactly the way you want them to. But I CAN promise you that every time you choose to hope instead of doubt, the Lord will honor your faith somehow. And that is why I urge you today-"Wait for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always!" (Psalm 131:3 MSG)
Prayer: Lord, teach me how to be more stable in difficult times. Reveal to me how putting my hope in You, Your Word, and Your goodness will open the door for me to receive all the blessings You have in store for me. Remind me how maintaining a hopeful attitude can be the best antidote for discouragement and despair. Thank You that as I do my part in gaining the victory, You will do Yours!
- J. M. Farro