Every year I ask Jesus for a word of the year. This year’s word: hope. Hope is a state of expectancy for things to come. We are expectant about God’s plans for our lives and we trust that he has good purposed for us. The Lord spoke through the prophet Jeremiah saying, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). While we know this, how often do we loose hope in His promises for the future? What do we do when our hope begins to fade?
There are so many things that we hope for. We hope for a dream job. We hope for children. We hope for financial security. We hope for happy families. We hope that we will make an impact with our lives. We all have God given dreams and desires. God writes these dreams on the folds of our hearts. However, the longer we go without the fulfillment of our dreams the more our hope begins to fade.
This is nothing to be ashamed of. Even Abraham, a man known for his faith, had hope that faded. In Genesis 15: 4-6, God makes Abraham a promise saying, “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir. He took him outside and said, Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them. Then he said to him, So shall your offspring be. Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”
In the next chapter, Abraham and Sarah take matters into their own hands. Genesis 16:1-2 says, “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” While it is only one chapter in the Bible, 10 years had passed between the promise God made and Abraham and Sarah taking matters his own hands. Then 15 years later, God blesses Sarah and allows her to conceive Isaac a total of 25 years after the promise is made.
When God makes us a promise, we start full of hope. As time passes hope fades, but his promises never fade. Instead of worrying about timing, we need to rest in the promises of God. God’s promises are less like checks and more like bonds. When we receive a check, we can immediately take that money and deposit it in our bank account. That “promise” is essentially money in the bank. However, when we purchase a bond we have to wait 30 years for the bond to reach maturity and interest is paid every six months until the bond is mature. That promise takes time to mature, but the pay out we receive is much more than what we put in.
We all come into each year with hopes and dreams. Maybe this is the year for hopes to be fulfilled, or maybe this is another year that we wait in hope for the promises of God. Either way, may we rest in the knowledge that God has a plan for our lives and may we resist the urge to take matters into our own hands. Happy new year everyone! What are your hopes for this year?