Pastor J. A. Adeyokunu is currently the National Treasurer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. In his book titled, “The Hope for the Hopeless”, he seeks to reignite the flames of hope in any hopeless situation one can find self. That no matter how long or how difficult one challenge may be, the word of God remains sure foundation for desired solution.
In the dictionaries, you will find several meanings of hope. One such is that hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. For example, one may say, “I hope my team wins” or “I hope you have a good day”. You can also find the dictionary meaning of hope in statements like, “I hope that tomorrow will be better,” “I hope to find my life partner,” “I hope God shows up in this situation,” etc.
Despite how great such a notion of hope sounds, there is a vacuum in it. It lacks some substance. Saying, “I hope my team wins,” does not in any way have guarantee. Likewise if someone says to you, “I hope you have a great day”. There is no guarantee that the day will go well, it is merely a wishful thinking. Hope as the Bible describes it is not just wishing for the best, it is not accepting what fate brings and just hoping it favours you, biblical hope is based on the knowledge of the truth – the Word of God. It is not based on the uncertainty of ‘I-hope-so’, but on the surety of “I know-so”.
Hope is based on God’s promises in his Word. It is not a feeling or an emotion. To have hope is to have a sure anchor of the soul. It is not based on some sort of human forecast like that of the weather. For example, if experts forecast that there is a 61% chance of rain, and you ‘hope’ that your farm will be watered as a result, it is not hope as the Bible describes. The remaining 39% chance of uncertainty makes it open to probability. Therefore, on that basis it cannot be hoped on. Hope is not based on something that is undependable and has no power to bring anything to pass. Human hope pales because it is unreliable.
Little wonder God warns that anyone who puts their trust in man is doomed. We cannot trust whatever man promises.
Thus, saith the LORD; Cursed be theman that trusteth in man, and makethflesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Jeremiah 17:5-6
There is a very close connection between hope and trust. You cannot hope on something when you don’t trust the person who promised it. Who gave the promise that you are hoping for? This is why who you trust determines the outcome of what you hope for. Every other person, spiritual or physical, can be limited. The only one who cannot be limited is God. Therefore, if God promises a thing, then you must have hope that it will come to fulfillment. Hope should only be based on what God says.
Look at the governments of the world. During political campaigns, politicians make promises they never keep even when they are elected. You also find organizations reneging on their promises to their staff. These may all be for two reasons – either the ones who we hope on their promises are hypocrites or they are simply powerless to fulfill them.
This is why those that trust in God and hope on His promises are described by God as blessed.
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease
from yielding fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8
A Christian’s definition of hope is far superior to that of the world. Instead of wishing or hoping for something to happen, a believer knows that God cannot lie.
That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us. Hebrew 6:18
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hat he spoken, and shall henot make it good? Numbers 23:19
The Christian has a hope that is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). It is a hope that is like faith; a faith that cannot be moved by circumstances or what the eyes see because the unseen God is seen in His faithfulness.
The Bible defines faith as the evidence of what we hope for (Hebrews 11:1). It means that without hope, there would be nothing like faith. We only exercise faith in action towards something we hope for. This settles the fact that hope is something that has not yet been received. It is in the future. It is not in the past or present.
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Romans 8:24-25
What you can already see or have cannot be hoped for again. Based on God’s promises and the current situations in your life, are you where God wants to take you? If not, you must never lose hope because God has the capacity and power to bring whatever he has promised to pass. Stop living a life based on chances and whatever fate brings. Live in hope. It does not matter how long you have tarried on the same spot, keep hoping on God. Hope in God does not disappoint. Hope in God will never put you to shame (Romans 5:5a).
It is granted that hope is in future, and not what we have already received. However, most certainly, hope should determine how we live in the present moment. For example, Apostle Paul admonished us not to weep like those that have no hope when our believing brethren die. This is because we are full of hope that when Jesus comes, we will see them again.
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13
Whereas unbelievers may cry and weep like there’s no tomorrow, Christians know that when they lose their believing loved ones, though they go through the pain, there is hope to see them again. God is able to bring them back to life again by the power of resurrection. What a glorious hope!
Jesus said unto her, I am theresurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. John 11:25
Again, we hope in the resurrection of the dead in Christ because of the integrity and power of the One who has promised. The verse above is Jesus’ words at the scene of demonstrating the power of resurrection in the life of Lazarus of Bethany.
Lazarus was dead and buried for four days. All the biological processes of decomposition had already kicked in. his corpse shouldn’t be opened again because the deadly odour could even cause disease. However, Jesus taught us that hope in God cannot fail. He brought Lazarus back to life by a simple command. What a mighty God we serve!
Hope against Hope
There is a concept of hope which we can refer to as ‘Hoping against hope’. It is an idiom used to describe having hope against all odds. The person of Abraham comes in handy when trying to describe what it means to hope against hope.
Abraham was seventy five years when God promised him a son (Genesis 12:4). However, he didn’t receive Isaac until he was a hundred years old (Genesis 21:5). His body, as well as that of his wife, Sarah, was old and unproductive. To say the least, Sarah had since past menopause and couldn’t reproduce by all biological standards. The situation was hopeless. They even tried to help God fulfill the promise through her maid Hagar when she was aging. That union produced Ishmael. But God made it clear that he was not the child of promise.
Subsequently, Abraham became old and unproductive too. So wherein lays the hope? It was truly hopeless. But according to the Bible, Abraham hope against hope.
Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. Romans 4:18
What does it mean to hope against hope? It means having a hope that is not based on anything human or circumstantial. It means hope based only on the word of God. This is the true meaning of hope. Abraham is called the father of faith because he never lost his hope, despite every natural order that permited him to do so. He only believed God and it was counted unto him as righteousness.
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him righteousness. Romans 4:3
Jesus our Surety of hope
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:2-5
Having been made partakers of God’s grace through Jesus, our hope should swell from leaps to bounds. You must rejoice in hope no matter what you are going through. Whatever sufferings and tribulation you are going through cannot last more than they are allowed by God. They are to make you stronger and wiser. The hardships are supposed to produce endurance in you, which will lead to moulding character into you to be the best that the Lord has purposed for you.
Hope does not disappoint!