Friday, March 6, 2009

Keep Your Hopes Alive

by Monica Hernandez

William Shakespeare, the famous English poet once wrote: “Cowards die a thousand times before their deaths. The valiant taste of death but once.” Let it also be said that people without hope or with a dull, weak hope die just as many times.

A life without hope is like a stagnant pool, wide open for destructive forces to come in and play, keeping such a life in bondage to failure and despair. It is an existence of cowardice, filled with fear to hope or dream, in direct contrast to the life of the valiant who live by hope and keep it alive. At 1 Cor. 9:10, we read: "For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope” The above text is saying that “when we plow (or work), it should be in hope (for its rewards)” and “when we thresh in hope we should be recipients of what we hope for.” This speaks of expectancy.

Have you been disappointed concerning your hopes and dreams? What are you hoping for? Better finances, a better employment, a marriage, better living quarters, specific changes in your life? Do you hope for your son or daughter or loved one to come off drugs or false appetites, a healing in spirit, soul or body, mending of a breach between you and others?

Oftentimes, the fear to hope or dream is the result of former dashed hopes. The very things that we had deeply hoped for had eluded us at every turn.. We might have caught a glimpse of those things we hoped for but as we reached out to grasp them, somehow they get pushed away. This experience can be very frustrating and there are few occurrences that can be compared with that.

Yet, there is hope to overcome dashed hopes.

The good news is that your hope can be rekindled and kept alive. The Scriptures tell us that hope is an anchor to the soul. And what does an anchor do? It keeps a boat or ship from moving about—keeps it steadfast. The power of God within you, your hope of glory, is an anchor that is alive and ready to keep you strong, and steadfast. It will keep you from moving hither and thither. The power of His hope within you will banish sorrow, and help you sing new songs.

At Psalm 42:5, David, the psalmist spoke to himself, asking himself why he was so sad and disquieted but immediately consoled himself with the words “...hope thou in God for I shall yet praise him for his help.” The tone of this psalm reveals deep despair but David knew the remedy for that emotional sickness. He affirmed hope to his soul in a roundabout way. He knew his help would come from God, the only One who could help, and commanded his soul to hope.

How can you rekindle dashed hopes and keep them alive? The first thing to know is that life moves in cycles and seasons and your despair will not last forever. You can go to the Scriptures, find all the promises of God and feed your soul upon them, cultivating steadfastness, perseverance and a continual expectancy. Last, but not at all least, you can revisit your old dreams and goals, seeing them in your mind's eye as accomplished, with a new depth of belief.

Consider David’s thoughts in his condition: “I will yet praise Him for the help of His countenance...” David knew that praise to God for who He is and what He can do is the greatest spiritual remedy for a downcast or disappointed soul. Like David, keep that picture alive in your mind that one day “you will praise Him” for the fulfillment of your hopes and dreams. Let that become a self-fulfilled prophecy to you. As you revisit long-past dreams, do so in vivid detail and rekindle your emotions about them.

When despair tries to overwhelm you, remind yourself that the darkest hour is just before dawn and your new day will come. Cast aside fear and doubt, and never let your dream die.

A woman I know, whom we shall call Linda was married for eleven years and had hoped for a child. She had prayed much about her desire over the years. Just about the time she was twelve years married, Linda conceived and brought forth not one child but two. She was blessed with a beautiful son and daughter.

My hope for you is that you will rekindle dashed hopes and keep them alive by your focus and your prayers. And I say with Paul:“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Suggested Readings: Psalm 31:24, Psalm 33:18-19, Psalm 39:6-7, Psalm 42:5, Psalm 146:5-9, Romans 4:17-18, Hebrews 6:19.

Reflection: Hope is an anchor to my soul. Hope comforts and strengthens my soul. Hope banishes sorrow. Quietly hoping in the Lord sets me free from anxiety, disappointment and pain. My hope is in God who performs all things for me.

“Dear God, you are dealing bountifully with me in every area of my life and I thank you for your love and mercy---all is well and I give thanks. Amen.”

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