“For I know the plans have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
I was at a conference today as I was thinking about which quote to use for this week’s Words of Hope. The word that kept coming to mind was hope. Then, in both the first session and second session of the conference, the word that kept coming up was hope.
Hope has been a theme that I have contemplated and thought about often over the past few months. I used to think hope was a word that surrounded dreams and positives in life. However, when God revealed to me that I needed to let go of my hold on Jeremiah 29:11 as my favorite verse, I did some research on the entire chapter and realized this verse is surrounded by the Israelites living in captivity in Babylon instead of freedom in Jerusalem. They were told to have hope in the midst of being exiles. They were told to keep living, having children, marrying and seeking the prosperity for the city in which they were exiled because if the city prospered, so would they. Can you imagine being told that you needed to help those that held you in captivity to prosper? That would be hard, but, the hope was promised in the chapter – if the city prospered, so would they.
Then, in Romans, the verse starts with hope and is joined immediately with stating to be patient in tribulation. It has become clear to me that hope is something that often comes in the midst of rough times. One of the speakers today stated it this way: We must confront the reality of now even as we hope.
Hope most definitely is found in positive times when we believe the likelihood of something we want happening is favorable. But, when you live in abuse or rough times, it is so difficult to hold on to hope or even to find hope. I remember some of the times where I stated out loud or made a decision in my mind that I would never be anything because the abuser(s) in my life made it difficult for me to focus on anything that wasn’t centered around them in some way or in getting through an issue they had created. At other times, I changed the way I lived my life and made a decision that I would no longer do things for myself to have a better life, but would help others instead, since I could not have a better life. In those times, I both gave up hope and found a way to give hope to others, which, in itself, gave me hope for my life to mean something.
You Have To Have Hope
You have to have hope in some way or you will give up and live in despair. To find and hold on to hope in some way or form, no matter your circumstances, gives you strength and even clarity in the midst of the pain where you can think with some clarity to see the circumstances around you for what they are. Hope is like a flashlight shining in the darkness. It gives some perspective to life and even direction, strength and courage for a way to move forward or even out of the abuse. Life is not hopeless.
I know that my true hope is not found in this lifetime, but in eternity that comes when this life is over. The eternal hope, though, does give purpose and joy in this lifetime as well. This hope is what kept me going and gave my life purpose when there wasn’t much to hold on to in my day-to-day living. It is a hope that is available to everyone through Jesus and living your life for and through Him.
~ Joanna Lynn