The Importance of being Hopeful

By Not Known

A sense of hope is important to our inner well-being. On the one hand, good memories and present joys lose their pleasure if we have a sense that they will soon end and not be repeated. On the other hand, we can endure present unpleasantness and difficulty if we have a sense that things will be better tomorrow. Hope lifts our spirits and motivates us.

The writer of Lamentations had much to make him miserable in the present. The people had suffered at God’s hand as punishment for their many sins (e.g. 3: 39- 45). There was a sense of being hemmed in by God on every side – premature ageing, besiegement and darkness (3: 1- 7). All this caused bitterness of soul and a downcast state.

Where does hope come from in the midst of this doom and gloom? Sometimes we create false hope. We tell ourselves that things are not as they could be, that we will surely be better tomorrow or that we can make things better by ourselves. False hope collapses when tomorrow is just as bad as today or when we cannot solve our own problems.

The writer of Lamentations found hope even in the midst of judgement. Remarkably, it was hope in the very God, who was the source of the present suffering:

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him. (Lam 3: 22- 24)

As we read on in the Bible we see how God’s faithfulness was shown. He kept his promise of a new deal for humanity by sending Jesus as the middleman of a new and better covenant (Jer 31: 31- 34; Heb 8- 9). In this covenant, God himself provided the sacrifice for forgiveness of sins and sent Jesus to be the last priest that the world ever needs.

God’s action in sending Jesus justifies our continuing hope in him and demonstrates his good will to humanity. Let us therefore remain a hopeful people, but keep our hope in God.