“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 NET).
Friend to Friend
It’s was one of the worst days of my life. Tragedy struck our family in the worst way and I was emotionally paralyzed. That’s when my friend, Mary, stepped in to do what I couldn’t. She made a hotel reservation for me, called the necessary people, and said, “It’s going to be okay.”
“It’s going to be okay” is one of the most hope-filled sentiments I can offer to others, and that I can choose to believe for myself. The writer of Hebrews says: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 NET). That’s where hope comes from.
Of course, for the Christian, there is the future hope of eternity with God. But there is also hope for the here and now. We have the assurance, the evidence of things not seen, that no matter what happens, God is still on his throne.
What is biblical hope? It is tethering what we know about God’s past faithfulness to the future. In defining faith as “being sure of what we hope for,” the writer of Hebrews gives us an insight into hope, but let’s chew on it a bit. Biblical hope is not a wish. A wish is something we want to have or to happen. “I wish I had a house.” “I wish I could go to Spain.” “I wish I had a smaller waist.” Maybe it will happen one day, maybe it won’t.
In contrast, biblical hope is a certainty that our ultimate future rests in God’s capable and loving hands. It is an assurance that the invisible God is faithful and has a good plan in my visible life.
Old Testament writers used several Hebrew words for hope. One is qawa, which means hope in the sense of trust, as when the prophet Jeremiah said to God, “Our hope is in you” (Jeremiah 14:22). New Testament writers used the Greek word hupomeno for hope. It means to wait, to be patient, to endure, to persevere under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ.
We get a picture of hope as these biblical words define it in the life of the apostle Paul. Paul encountered struggle after struggle, but he never lost hope that everything was going to be okay, and assured others of the same (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).
Here’s the thing though, unless I know someone has struggled through traumatic situations themselves, I don’t really believe them when they tell me, “It’s going to be okay.” My knee-jerk reaction is, “How do you know?” Unless they truly do understand, the words fall flat. When you aren’t ashamed to tell your darkest moments but freely reveal how God brought you through, you become believable. Hope becomes conceivable. Then you become a hope-giver.
Sometimes, it may take years to put back the pieces the wrecking ball of pain has caused. The atrocities we’ve endured may tempt us to believe that someone other than God is writing our stories. But God has the power to redeem what we consider unredeemable. To heal what we consider fatally wounded. To make our worst chapters our greatest victories. And then to fashion us into hope-givers who are believable, vulnerable, and beautiful when we tell another, “It’s going to be okay.”
When tragedy tears our hearts out, when untimely death cracks the foundation of our faith, when abuse mars all that is good, we mourn. We grieve the loss. But we mustn’t allow the story to stop there. I type these words with tears in my eyes because I have lived them. Hear me when I say, it’s going to be okay—you’re going to be okay. God has more to write.
God, I trust You. No matter what happens this side of heaven, I know it’s going to be okay because You have a purpose and a plan. I might not like the situation or understand the observation, but I trust You without reservation.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What is one difficult situation that God has brought you through, that you can now share with someone else who is going through a similar struggle? We’d love to hear about it in the comment section.
More From the Girlfriends
Everyone likes a good story, but not everyone likes their own story. Did you know that the chapters you’d like to tear out of your story are the very ones God can use the most? Those stories can make you stronger…if you let them. Check out Sharon’s book, When You Don’t Like Your Story: What if Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories. I know that they can! This book will help you get there.
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