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Maintaining Hope in the Lord

If you haven’t read Suzanne Gosselin’s excellent article, “Why You Should Keep Hoping for Marriage,” go read it now. Seriously, go read it, and I’ll wait right here.

OK, here we go! Suzanne reminds us that “[t]he key to staying hopeful despite discouraging circumstances is to stay connected with God and others, and walk the fine line of hoping for marriage but not making it your only hope. As believers our hope is much bigger than marriage (see Titus 2:13). We know a God who offers us hope in abundance, and that’s reason enough to expect great things.”

One of the most valuable things I learned during my single years was the importance of hope. Not just hope in the good things God could give me, like a spouse, but hope in who He is and His promises throughout Scripture. Promises like He will never leave or forsake us; that He hears our prayers and sees our tears; and that He is for us, not against us.

I’ve found that maintaining hope in the Lord is something I still need to do, even now that I’m married. Because the truth is, there’s always something we’re hoping for. When we’re single, we hope for marriage. When we’re married, we hope for children. During pregnancy, we hope for a healthy baby. When we’re parents, we hope for children who will love the Lord and live for Him. And on and on it goes.

And it isn’t just hope in our personal circumstances. I was struck with just how important hope is to a life of faith just a few weeks ago.

My husband and I hosted a morning prayer group for our church community. As we gathered, we listed things to pray for. The earthquake in Nepal had just happened, and the photos were devastating. The riots in Baltimore were turning violent, and it was reigniting tension in our own community as protestors gathered in Ferguson nearby. A couple from our church were weeks away from giving birth to a baby who would not survive more than a few hours. Another couple was considering leaving the denomination after sensing God was calling them to a new place. One of my extended family member suffered an aneurysm, and she was going to be taken off life support.

That morning felt heavy. The world was violent, and I was reminded of the brokenness we live in. I was wrestling with the tension between having the presence of the Holy Spirit here on earth, but the earth still waiting for when Christ will return and restore everything. It felt hopeless. Even as we prayed and pleaded to the Lord for His comfort and healing and peace, hope seemed far away.

I was reminded that our hope is not in anything but the Lord. It’s not in our circumstances or our relationship status or the numbers in our bank account. In this life we will not escape suffering and pain and even death. But Scripture reminds us, especially in the Psalms, where our hope comes from. Psalm 39 says, “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you,” and Psalm 130 tells us, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.”

No matter what your life looks like, remember that God alone is the source of all hope, and He will not disappoint us. Nothing can change that. When we’re tempted to put our hope in a change of relationship status or in any other temporary things, let’s remember that those things, too, are fading. They are good things, but ultimately they aren’t the source of our hope. God, and only God, is.

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