Is it time for you to begin hoping to the nth degree?
All of us have three choices when we face the stressful challenges of life. We mope around, feeling depressed. We cope, calmly adapting. Or, we hope, feeling confident about overcoming. Each of us can stand still, move forward, or move beyond. These approaches to facing stressful situations are woven into the fabric of our lives. We all, at one time or another, have moped, coped, and hoped, even over the same circumstance.
A Baby Gave Us Hope to the nth Power
When God came as a baby in a manger, and 33 years later died on a cross for us, he gave us hope to the nth power. We all can be confident in ourselves and the people and resources around us. It’s only when we place God at the center of our lives, maintain an intimate relationship with him, and accept Jesus Christ as our savior, that we have hope to the nth power.
Human hope becomes supernatural hope.
For many of us, moping around is our first reaction when faced with a negative experience. We consciously or unconsciously maximize and surrender to the stress, to the point where we become apathetic and physically listless. A loved one passes away. We lose a job. The doctor tells us we are terminally ill. We have a depressed spirit, one which says, “I just can’t handle this.”
We Try to Handle Things Ourselves
When we eventually cope with circumstances we can’t change, we adapt and “play with the deck we’ve been dealt.” We try to minimize the stress. We say, “I can make my way through this.” We do this in positive or negative ways. We find ways to positively adapt to the situation using whatever personal resources we have, or cope by escaping through the use of alcohol, drugs, or work.
In either case, we seek to survive and have a calm spirit.
Hope Is Moving Beyond
Hope is moving beyond circumstances with a confident spirit of anticipation, a feeling success is possible. Through coping we move forward despite circumstances. Hope moves us forward because of the circumstances. We say, “I will do more than survive. I will overcome.” We find opportunities to rise above and overcome.
This kind of hope is based on what we can do and the support of others. Our coping and hoping is man-made.
Human Hope to Supernatural Hope
Human hope becomes supernatural, God-made to the nth degree, when we extend our hoping to include what God can do. Whether we’ve lost a loved one, lost a job, or been diagnosed with a terminal illness, we can turn to the Lord our God, the only true source of hope in the midst of our trials and as we face death.
Keeping God Central
When God is central to our lives, we maintain a close relationship with him. We rely on his Word and promises, and prepare ourselves for victory over whatever may come our way, even death. As the hymn, God Will Take Care of You, by Civilla D. Martin says, “God will take care of you, through ev'ry day, o’er all the way; he will take care of you, God will take care of you.”
Listen to God's Words
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:11)
Also read: Psalm 91:1-2, John 14:27, Hebrews 12:1
In the Words of Others
“This is a world of action, and not for moping and droning in.” Charles Dickens
“Hope is oxygen to the soul, and God is the oxygen of hope.” Craig D. Lounsbrough
Think About It
Recall a time when you faced a significant loss or challenging time in your life. Describe your reactions. Did you mope, cope, or hope? If you did all three, recall your emotions in each case.
In the midst of the difficulties, how did you cope? How did you overcome and move on? How did others support you?
If God was involved, how? How did your relationship with God prepare you? Was your relationship with him strengthened?