67. Hope in Hardship

by Jul 1, 20242024

Does experiencing hardship qualify as a good reason to lose hope? I guess it depends on what our hope is based. Webster gives this definition for hope: “to cherish a desire with anticipation.” We can hope for lots of different things. We hope for our kid’s happiness and a life without major health challenges. We may hope for many grandchildren and that nothing bad happens to them. You get the picture. We really can hope for just about anything!

The hopes listed above are nice, but they really have no root in what Scripture outlines or promises for our lives. What Scripture does speak to is a hope that is of much greater significance – our spiritual or eternal hope.

On What Are You Focused?

If the majority of our focus is on earthly or temporal desires, will those things be sufficient to give us hope when it’s our turn to experience hardship? Will they be enough to guide our reactions to the difficult circumstances we will all encounter? Having been a student of Scripture for over 50 years, I believe I can accurately say that life is a combination of wins and losses. Life in this world bring us the combination of both great thrill and great disappointment. If we only measure our lives by the “positive” experiences, then maintaining a hopeful outlook will only be possible when we’re experiencing seasons or events we define as “good”.

In contrast, hope that is spiritually rooted and eternally focused is different. Because it is rooted in what Jesus has revealed to us and Scripture has confirmed, our hope can remain fixed and steady even in the most challenging of hardships. When our hope is in heavenly things that never perish, spoil, or fade, we eliminate disappointment (I Peter 1:4). When our hope is placed in Jesus and what He’s both given to us and promised for us, we can trust there is good purpose in our hardship.

A Guaranteed Hope

Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:1-3, ESV). What I have come to believe and understand is that my hope is eternal hope. It’s based on what awaits me in heaven. This hope has the guarantee that when I fail and confess my sins, He is faithful and just to forgive them (I John 1:9). I am guaranteed an eternal place in God’s Kingdom forever. Eternity! Something our human minds can hardly comprehend. Yet there is evidence of eternity all around us, and what hope could be better? In fact, considering the promise and glory of eternity, Scripture describes the hardships and afflictions we experience here, as “light and momentary!” (2 Corinthians 4:17, NIV).

No amount of earthly hardships will ever be able to take that away from me. Romans 8:38-39 provides a list of the things that can’t steal my hope: “neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

In my own words, this means no disease or sickness, no tragedy or hardship, or anything attached to the imperfections of this life. Not divorce, separation, betrayal, depression or anxiety or failure of any sort, will stop me from keeping my hope in the one Who died and rose again to save me. Whatever taste of hell this world may throw at me, I am more than a conqueror through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37).

So, friends, let’s not allow the various weights of hardship this world throws at us to rob us of the hope that is ours when we focus on the eternal, rather than the temporal. May God pour out His love and grace upon us all and may we be daily reminded of His great love. May we never lose hope in the One who has done so much to prove His faithfulness. God doesn’t lie and He never fails! GREAT is His faithfulness!