How to Find Hope
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The following is an excerpt from the book 'Hope', available here.
A merciless sun hung lazily in mid sky. It's heat burned all the way to her bones. Even deeper, shame burned, then anger pursued hotly by bitterness. A fire tore through her mind. Parched lips, swollen tongue, panting, she lay her young, delirious Ishmael, in the shade of a small bush.
Her own harsh childhood surfaced from long forgotten memories - left for dead on the streets of Ramses, rescued by a profiteer, then sold like meat at the markets into slavery. Chosen by Sarah, purchased by Abraham, Hagar’s latent beauty rose and shone. Such happy days they were in that wilderness caravan, safe in those luxurious tents of the fabulously wealthy desert Chieftain, Abraham.
The piercing ache of Sarah to bear a son, joined with her longing to satisfy her husband's own deep yearning for a child, spawned an idea that seemed so right at the time.
Could it even have been orchestrated by Yaweh Himself?
That she, Hagar, a slave handmaiden could be the surrogate mother to bear the aging couple their promised child. And so it happened. Sarah suggested the plan, Abraham agreed and Hagar conceived.
How the heart changes though. As soon as it became obvious she was successful in bearing Abraham his child, Hagar the slave grew haughty, and Sarah her mistress, jealous. Sarah beat the woman and threw her out. However, the gracious chieftan prevailed and recovered her and his son, Ishmael, back to his tents. After difficult days of pregnancy, eventually Ishmael breathed his first and peace returned to the tents of the Patriarch and his Sarah.
Time passed and Ishmael grew, but then, of all the most amazing things that could happen, the ninety year old Sarah herself conceived! High jubilation broke out all through the household. Abraham’s long held ache for a son was finally answered.
Sarah now feels no obligation for normal courtesies to her ‘Egyptian’ maid. So Hagar’s dream world turns nightmarish. Every day she faces the harshest of treatments from her avenging mistress. The conflict climaxes, triggered by young Isaac’s initiation rites. Hagar and her offspring mock Isaac and his Hebrew ritual, incensing Sarah. She has them hurled from the tent and drives the bondwoman from their wilderness home, rejecting them forever, refusing to share any inheritance with the foreigners.
This time Abraham withdraws, supplying no intercession. He concurs with his wife and supplied with meager provisions, the two are banished to the desert. All too soon the food and water runs out along with her hope of any kind of future.
But the God of hope was seeing Hagar’s hopeless, despairing situation. Yaweh is moved with pity for the single mother, alone and fired with so many emotions, dreading that death alone awaited her arrival.
But when this God, our God, the God of Hope becomes involved with us, what appears to be the end of the road can in fact become the sunrise of an entirely new day.
He speaks to her, asking why she is so distressed. Then shows her a well of water directly in front of her. It had been there all the time. Depression had blinded her to her salvation, which was just within her reach.
God doesn’t play with us, teasing us with false hopes and futile dreams. Divine destiny has been planted in the heart of every soul. We uncover this destiny when we connect with our ‘destiny giver’, God, who raised His son Jesus from the dead. If ever we can draw hope from anyone, it is Christ Himself who faced the most impossibly hopeless situation ever, death, for three days….But God.
Thousands of years later, this same blindness, the blindness of despair, darkened the world of two disciples as they made their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus after the death of Jesus.
But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.
They failed to believe their Messiah had died and risen again as He had told them, in spite of all they had personally witnessed. They saw Him tried and condemned. They saw His entire twelve disciples forsake Him. They saw Him scourged, mocked and crucified then die on a cross at Golgotha. It was all final. What could change what they had seen firsthand? Their confusion deepened when they heard from some women who had been to and searched the tomb, that his body couldn’t be found.
These two frowning men walked haplessly towards the town of ‘hot baths’, Emmaus. A stranger drew up alongside and started walking with them. Even though it was Jesus Himself who ‘drew near’, they still couldn’t recognize Him. As they walked, he took them on another journey all the way through the Old Testament explaining everything about himself from prophecies of the ancients. Still they couldn’t see Him. Arriving home they invited their puzzling guest to supper. He broke bread. Suddenly, it abruptly dawned on them that this was in fact Jesus Himself. ‘Their eyes were opened’. In that same second He disappeared. Though invisible now they saw Him clearer than ever.
When our heart believes, our eyes open. ‘We see Him who is invisible’. Doubt clouds our mind so that even if He is visible we cannot see Him. Faith opens our eyes. This in turn injects hope, the power of vision, deep into our soul.
God is known as many things. He is known as The God of Love, the God of miracles, the God of the Church, the God of Abraham, the God of Heaven and Earth, but in Romans 15:13, Paul reveals He is the God of Hope. Sensational for a despairing generation!
This means if God is with us, hope is with us. No matter what the situation is, if He is involved, we have hope! All of it will work together for good. Hope is a person and His name is Jesus. If we are filled with God we will be filled with hope, because He is Hope itself. With God there is always hope. There is always a way through with God.