“How can I grow my hope?” The woman sounded near-desperate. She was weary from battling a long illness. She felt weak. Unworthy. Unable to strive any longer.
So just how does one grow hope? Especially when feeling weak and broken? It’s not like you can suddenly will hope to appear. And if hope is only for the strong, then the news is not good for any of us–we’re all weak and broken at times. But must of us recognize it when hope springs up in our heart. And we sure know when it’s missing.
What would you say to someone who needs hope? You may care deeply for your friend or loved one, but you can’t physically give them the hope that lives in your own heart. You can try to encourage. Speak words of life. Point out reasons to dream and not give up. But you can’t cause hope to magically appear.
God knows we all need hope. His Word encourages us to grab hope through the good news of the gospel: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4 ESV). Simply put, God’s Word reminds us that hope comes through perseverance, as we draw strength and inspiration through the Scriptures.
But what if you’re like my friend--unable to endure or even read the Bible for hope? The next verses read more like a prayer especially for you: “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement…” (Romans 15:5-6 NIV).
Did you catch that? God is the one who gives us the endurance and encouragement we need. We may be weak and faltering, but we can still go to God as His child, and receive the strength and encouragement we desperately need–straight from His hand.
In case we still need one more push toward hope, the Bible points us to God as the giver of hope itself: “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13 NLT). One version even refers to Him as the “God of hope” (Romans 15:13 ESV).
So if you need hope today.…and if you’re feeling a little too weak to endure or draw strength from the Scriptures…my prayer is simply that the “God of hope,” Himself, will fill you to overflowing with hope through the mysterious, unexplainable power of His Holy Spirit!