Hope in the Bad Times…and the Good
To have an overflowing hope during the good times seems easy. When I chose “hope” to be my word for 2016 I was in the midst of a trial and desperate to remain hopeful. Little did I know that God would be teaching me this year my need for hope when times are good.
I suppose you could say I’m slightly superstitious. What I’ve come to find out however, is that my superstitions are often the result of lack of hope. A few years ago my husband and I relocated to the city where I grew up. My husband’s salary was nearly 50% over what he’d been making before, we were living in the area of town where I saw myself eventually being a stay-at-home mom with a charming home and Disney vacations every summer. We were fitting into our new church home and getting involved and we got to see my family all the time. My faith was so much stronger as I’d learned to rely on God during our decision to make this move. Life was good. Life was too good.
I had this nagging feeling in my mind that everything would soon crumble. Nothing this good could last forever. Only a few months into our move our lives were shaken. My husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer. There it was–the drop I’d been expecting.
Praise God he got into surgery quickly, where they were able to remove all of the cancer without other treatments, but our lives were now full of scans, tests, and questions. Would this affect our ability to have children? Would it come back? Not to mention the heavy cost of his surgery, CT scans, and oncology visits. It was a heavy season for us. In that time I grew closer to the Lord, but I also had created a guard for myself. I was afraid to let myself become overfilled with confident hope. I’d been right–life can’t be so good. I didn’t want to experience such a letdown ever again.
Afraid to Hope for Too Much
Flash forward a few years and I now find myself in a similar situation. We packed up and moved back to where we’d been before. We are in our first home, involved at church, and my husband loves his job. While my dreams are not quite as materialistic as they were in the past, things are going well. Even though things are going so well, I’ve noticed my guard up, almost like I’m scared to enjoy this life, scared for the fall that will knock us down from this happy season. Though life is good, this perspective is not victorious living. I have a need for hope during the good times.
In Romans 15:13 Paul says,
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Paul doesn’t desire us to have cautious hope, skeptical of what might happen next. He wants us to experience joy and peace so that we can be overflowing with hope! This joy and peace comes not from our circumstances, it comes from our trust in Christ. Our joy and peace are not dependent on what happens in this life. We find our joy in our salvation and in our eternal destination. Through trust in Christ as Savior, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and it’s through the power of the Spirit that we have an overflow of hope.
This hope is necessary all the time. It gives us confidence that not only will God lead us through whatever trials we are facing, He will lead us through whatever trials are on the way. We do not have to fear. We can take hold of the promise that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us and we can move forward each day in the hope that comes from Spirit-filled living.
Circumstantial Hope or Victorious Hope?
Before, my trust and my hope were circumstantial. I based my trust and my hope on material things, health, and career fulfillment. But I’ve learned that I will be let down if I put my trust in those things. My joy and my peace come from God and knowing that he is with me through all things, helping me. This allows me to set my superstitions and my skeptical thoughts aside and be at peace. Hope gets me through my struggles, but it also helps me to confidently enjoy the good seasons. Having hope in the good times allows me to live victoriously here on earth.
Glory to God every day!