How to Hope in God

Date: April 30, 2024

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.  Job 13:15


“O God, our help in ages past, /Our hope for years to come, /Our shelter from the stormy blast, /And our eternal home!” — so sang generations of men and women who endured all kinds of tough times. Today, however, our generation is not so sure, so confident, that God is our hope for years to come.  They wonder, uncertain, not completely convinced.  Lacking is an understanding of who God really is, what a Christian’s relationship to Him is, and what He has promised to do.  Many who do consider themselves to be believers are suffering from a spiritual malady which I call the despair of hope.  When they expect God to say “Yes” and He says “No,” they are thrown into deep distress.

This God who is our hope for the future has revealed Himself in a book, the Bible, a book which spans the centuries of time and has more to say about hope than any other like book in the world.  Some 158 times, the Bible speaks of hope—and that under a wide variety of circumstances.  Women who were barren talked about the hope of having children.  Men and women in prison talked about the hope of deliverance.  Paul talked about Abraham, facing an impossible situation in the natural: that of having an heir born to his wife, who was long past the age of childbearing; and others, facing certain death, talked of the hope of deliverance.

But the hope which this book offers is linked to the reality of a God who is there, a God who cares, who loves you enough to say “No!” when you want a “Yes” answer shouted loudly from heaven itself.  The lesson we can learn from these who have been in difficult situations is that there is hope, and there is an antidote to the despair which drives so many of our contemporaries to drugs, alcohol, depression, and often suicide.

The despair of hope has an antidote–a hope whose source is God Himself!

No one single individual talked more about hope than did Job, the one who seemed to be consigned to become the whipping boy of God.  Do you remember Job’s story?  It’s contained in the Old Testament book that bears his name.  Incidentally, should you think that the despair of hope is a twenty-first century problem, the events which take place in this book are among the oldest recorded events in biblical history, probably taking place about the time of Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob.

Job’s world came crashing down when Satan–yes, the enemy of our souls who is still attacking God’s children–came to strip him of his possessions, his family, his self-respect, and even his friends who pointed their fingers, saying, “Aha, you must be getting this because you are evil.”

Job’s hope weakens but never breaks.  “Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for,” he cries out (Job 6:8).  “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they come to an end without hope,” he despaired (7:6).   But he didn’t give up.  He cried out defiantly, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (13:15).

God honored his trust and hope and brought him through his ordeal.  Friend, don’t give up when you become infected with the virus of the despair of hope.  Sometimes you have to tell your emotions and feelings where to get off and hold on to what you know–that God is a good God and that He hasn’t forsaken you, or forgotten you, or singled you out for punishment simply because He said “No!” when you expected a “Yes!” answer.  Realize God is the source of our hope, and that He alone can drive back the despair and hopelessness of a broken world.

Resource reading: Psalm 42.