A hopeful person is person who practices hope. Psalm 71:14 says, “I will hope continually and will praise you [Lord] yet more and more.” This verse sounds good to the ears but my question is: Is it practical…is it doable? I mean let’s get real, how can we experience hope when everything in our life seems hopeless? We’ve lost the job, a failed relationship, bills to pay mouths to feed, I’m sick, you’re sick, the baby is sick, nobody understands and my favorite , I’m just sick and tired of being sick and tired! I guess we’ve all been there. I know I have. In fact sometimes I’ve pitched my tent and set camp in the desolate place. So how can God expect us to have hope?
I think perhaps the answer lies in the latter part of Psalm 71:14 which says, …AND [we] will praise you [Lord] yet more and more.” The implication here is if we are thankful for what we do have and we praise God for what He has done then hope will bud and begin to blossom within our heart. God even goes as far as to say we should even be thankful for the bad things. I Thessalonians 5:13 tells us, “In ALL things give thanks for this is the will of God for you.” That seems a bit extreme but it’s not when we realize God is in control and that He is working to bring good in the midst of heartache. We can claim this and know this because of Romans 8:28 which assures us, “… that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. These are the people God chose, because that was his plan.” (ERV) I’ve often heard, if God brings us to it, He will bring us through it. I believe this for it has been true in my life. Furthermore, It is okay if we are week and our strength fails us because, “Christ is the one who gives [us] the strength [we] need to do whatever [we] must do.”(Philippians 4:13) (ERV) He will always give us the strength to accomplish that which He asks us to do.
Joyce Meyer suggests that there are four practical steps we can take each day that will help us to be hopeful and they are:
1. Pray one bold prayer each day:
How can we have hope if we have nothing to hope in? We can’t. We must have expectations in order to have hope. Expectations come by asking God for “stuff.” Joyce suggests, “Hope is the platform that faith stands on.” Faith and hope work together. For example because we asked God for salvation we have hope we will receive salvation. Therefore when we ask God for something we wait expectantly in the hope that he will provide. Therefore be courageous and pray one bold prayer each day. Be specific in what you want from God and then by faith believe that He will answer. This can be as simple as, “God, let me find a good parking place” or as complex as, “God, let me get that job.” Be specific and be consistent. God assures us, “…ask and it will be given….seek and you will find…knock and it will be opened.” [Personal Example: I prayed daily for needs to be met after we lost 80% of our income. I didn’t have steak everyday but I ate (even gained weight) and the money always came in one fashion or another so we could pay our bills and avoid bankruptcy.]
2. Do something fun each day:
Just as hope and faith go together so do hope and joy. Anticipation for something you enjoy is exciting so plan something each day that makes you feel good. Creating excites me so setting aside time for that creation whether it be through art, cooking or writing brings me joy. Walking in nature brings me peace. Comedy shows make me laugh. Coffee with a friend warms my heart. It can be anything that makes you smile. So plan to do something you love, something fun and something that brings laughter to your day. [Personal example: Today I plan to take Danica and Dolly walking at the beach. I’m excited and I KNOW they will be too!]
3. Bless at least one person each day:
Make like a detective and search for that one person who needs encouragement. Look for the person who needs a helping hand. Pay for someone’s coffee, toll, lunch or even light bill if needed. Set your mind to do something kind to at least one person every single day. Sometimes it only takes a smile to make the difference between life or death to someone. You never know what that person is going through. It truly is better to give than receive. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Always remember to help people …Some people have done that and have helped angels without knowing it.” [Personal example: I was on my way to work one afternoon and I was feeling a bit down. Going through the toll booth I rolled down my window and handed the lady 75 cents only to be told that the person in front of me had already paid my debt. Wow! That truly made my day. So I paid for the person behind me.]
4. Write down and thank God for at least one blessing every day:
Just as hope, faith and joy go hand in hand so does hope and praise. The more thankful we are the more hopeful we will be. We experience many blessings everyday; however, if we fail to acknowledge and thank God for them, then more often than not, they will slip away, unnoticed. Look for and be thankful for at least one blessing each day. This will not only assure us of our present blessings but also of our future blessings to come! [Personal example: Thank you God for the smell of bacon frying and coffee perking this morning. I love the aroma!)
I am challenged to keep a journal and do the following every day for two weeks:
(1) Boldly ask God for something
(2) Do something fun
(3) Be a blessing to someone
(4) Be thankful for at least one thing
Will you take the challenge with me?
Let’s get our hope meter to fly off the Richter Scale!