Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Life without hope would be a miserable existence.
Yet, there may be times when we feel exactly like that. One day, we may feel optimistic. But that feeling doesn’t last. The very next day, the seesaw of emotions may put us down instead of up.
The encouragement to “Cheer up!” contains no power to make it so.
We cannot flip a mental switch to force us to see that the glass is half-full instead of half-empty. If we could, we would. We resent being told we have that ability. It only makes our hopelessness more hopeless.
Scripture talks about a sure, firm hope. Does that mean if we don’t feel that way something is wrong with us? Is it perhaps weak faith?
David, the shepherd-king, shows his struggle with emotions in the words of the psalms he was led to write. Fear often stalks confidence. Doubt is mixed with conviction. Desperation sometimes sits right next to hope.
Yet, Scripture shows that God-based hope is more than a feeling. It is the anchor to our life that is safely held in place by the Eternal Almighty.
The validity of hope is determined by what the hope is anchored in.
“My hope,” declared David to his Savior God, “is in you all day long.”
That makes all the difference in the world. He wasn’t counting on his reputation—not even after he became famous for killing Goliath.
He did not place his hope in himself, which is a common mistake.
No matter how good he was, he would never have been good enough to expect that he could overcome the challenges in life unscathed.
He knew his life was not his own. It was given to him by his Creator and guided by his hand.
David would not have sung, “I did it my way!”
“Show me your ways, O Lord!” was his prayer. “Teach me your paths.”
Of all the things we might hope for—and that list is long—none compares to the hope that the path we walk in this life will lead us to a life filled only with good things.
Considering it from another perspective, we hope against hope that death will not deposit us into the pit of torment the Lord God has prepared for those who defy him.
It’s tempting to lay out our own path in life. Usually, that one twists and turns as it tries to bring us to places that satisfy our desire for pleasure and avoids facing the reality of what God expects of us.
The path to victory over death and endless joy has no twists nor turns. It leads in a straight line to Jesus.
“I have come that they may have life” the Redeemer declared.
Ancient Job knew this long before Jesus was born. “I know that my Redeemer lives,” he wrote. “And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.”
His reaction? “How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:26,27).
Hope built upon the Lord who redeemed us with his holy blood is a solid, never-changing, never-failing hope.
This is my hope.
I hope it is your hope.
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare to make no other claim but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand. Amen.
(Christian Worship 563:1)
Points to ponder:
- How is faith more than a feeling?
- How might my self-confidence synchronize with my faith in God?
- How does Satan keep pointing me away from Jesus as the sure hope in life and death?
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.