Hope Against Hope

What is hope? It’s the feeling and desire for whatever situation one is facing that it will turn out positively. Hope allows people to approach a situation with a focus, determination, and desire that can been successfully seen through to fruition. To hope against hope means from our human perspective that what we want is not possible, but then that’s where God comes in. All things are possible with God.

When we lose hope, then we lose sight that our plight can ever be improved. Loss of hope leads to despair which can make a person feel like they’ve been sucked into a black hole in the galaxy. A black hole is an area of space where the gravity pull is so strong that even light cannot escape the powerful pull of the force. It was thought that nothing ever emerges from a black hole in space, what’s sucked into the hole can never ever escape. However, that’s not true, two NASA telescopes captured an enormous eruption of x-ray energy exiting from a massive black hole (https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/nustar/black-hole-has-major-flare). Now, I realize that it’s extremely unlikely that any of us will ever be sucked into a black hole out in space. 

But, plenty of us can be sucked into a black hole of life. Circumstances can lead us into an area of bleakness where everything around us is dark and full of despair. And as a black hole sucks in every thing and every bit of energy around it, whatever the situation is that we face, it consumes us up. The energy is sucked right out of us. We become depressed, we can’t sleep, we can’t eat, and we certainly cannot function. And, that is exactly where Satan wants us to be. 

Job says “where then is my hope? Who will see my hope?” in Job 17:15, and throughout the Old Testament book it indeed seems like Job has lost all hope. Who wouldn’t have lost hope if faced with the circumstances that Job faced? Yet throughout the book there are glimmers of hope, the only hope that Job can have, the hope in God and that hope peaks out through the paragraphs of despair like little rays sunshine pushing through a stormy sky. “Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face. This will be my salvation, that the godless shall not come before him.” (Job 13:15, ESV)

Job not only occasionally demonstrates that he holds out hope, he also demonstrates a little bit of God’s wisdom and understanding in those very brief glimpses of light that we see emerging from Job’s black hole of despair. I was struck yesterday when I read the following two verses in Job 16: “God gives me up to the ungodly and casts me into the hands of the wicked.” (Job 16:11, ESV) And, “Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high.” (Job 16:19, ESV) Even though Job was not privy to the private conversation between God and Satan in Chapters one and two of the book, there are small seeds of understanding implanted in Job during his deep anguish. He briefly recognized that the hands of the wicked were involved in his trials and tribulations. Job knows that God is there in heaven and sees Job’s plight. 

During times of deep frustration, depression, and trials, we too easily sink into despair. We lose sight of God, we feel a loss of connection with God, and we certainly feel that God does not see, or understand our plight. But, I contend that even in the midst of our deepest despair, God and the Holy Spirit offer us more than just the slivers of hope that we see in Job. The hope is there, we’re just unable to see it. And when we get that small ray of hope in the midst of the darkness, we need to grab onto that hope for all it’s worth. Those slivers of hope that we see, are our lifeline that become the rope that pull us up out of the pit of despair. 

Our hope, as well as Job’s hope can only come from God. All other things are temporal – they rust, they fade, they wear out, they degenerate. Everything is temporary, except for God and our eternal lives in Christ. We know that all thing will pass, even darkness and despair. And, each time we emerge from the darkness of the big black hole we’ve been sucked into, we gain another victory over Satan. Our strength returns, our faith has matured, and God has grown us to be more Christ-like. Additionally, when we maintain our hope and faith during those times of trial, the world notices, non-Christians see our witness and our faith in God. They question how we could have such light in the middle of such darkness. I’ve witnessed many stories where non-believing people are pulled into an eternal relationship with God because of the faith and determination of God’s children during times of anguish and hopelessness.

Beloved daughter of the Most-high King, always continue to hope against hope, because all things are possible with God. 

“But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26, ESV)
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation” (Psalms 42:5, ESV)
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13, ESV)
“In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” (Romans 4:18, ESV)

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