Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you.
(Psalm 42:5-6, ESV)
When people talk about hope in our culture they are usually referring to a vague feeling of hopefulness, or wishful thinking, like, “I hope it will be sunny tomorrow,” or “I hope I will be able to find a parking spot close to the front.”
When the Bible speaks about hope it is a sure thing—a certainty, a done deal. A hope that does not disappoint or put us to shame. The Scriptures refer to three hopes we have as believers when we put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Hope that our past is forgiven.
We all make mistakes. The Bible says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We do things, say things, and think things that we later regret. Sometimes it can be hard to let go of the past but as believers we have the hope of forgiveness of sins, and the reception of Jesus’ righteousness when we put our trust in Him. You are never too lost to have hope that your past has been forgiven (Philippians 3:13).
Hope that our present is secure.
We know that if our sins are forgiven we can have hope today that God is present with us now. Jesus was forsaken on the cross so that we would never have to be. As the Scriptures say, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
When Jesus commissioned the disciples before His ascension He said, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.” We have a sure hope that no matter what we face today, we don’t face it alone. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:38-39).
Hope that our future is safe.
We have a hope for the future—God is working all things together for our good, both in this life and in the life to come.
Before we knew Jesus we were slaves to the fear of death. But death has lost its sting. It has been given over to victory. Jesus has won! He conquered the grave and the hope we have in Him is eternal life.
Just as Jesus said, “he who lives and believes in me will never die.” When everyone around us seems crippled by the fear of death we can have a sure and abiding hope, death for us is gain (1 Corinthians 15:50-57).
The world needs hope. The world needs hope heroes who will declare the hope of Jesus Christ to the world.
My prayer is that you will be a hope hero—bringing the hope of the good news of Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection to children, youth, and their families. Know with a certain hope that your past is forgiven, your present is secure, and your future is safe. I pray you will know that “He who has begun a good work in you will bring it to completion.”
This is the hope we hold out to the world. This is the hope of Christmas.
MORE FAMILY FRIENDLY ADVENT RESOURCES:
Free Family Advent Calendar (Focus on the Family Canada)
The 2020 Family Advent Guide (Lifeway)
COVID-Friendly Christmas Resources (Deeper Kidmin)
How to Lead Your Kids’ Ministry Through a Beautiful Advent (Ministry Spark)
Read The Hope Blog’s 2019 Advent Reflections