The Dance of Hope: Learning the Steps

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“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…, who for the joy set before him endured the cross…” (Heb. 12:2, NIV).

“…Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope…” (Eph. 1:18, ESV).

“Why are you cast down, O my soul?… Hope in God…” (Ps. 42:5, NKJV).

How do these verses tie together? All three of them teach us essential truths about hope. More than another other time we have been alive, we humans need hope right now. The beautiful news is that Jesus has abundant hope available for us. Today, let’s lean in to listen to what He has to say to us on this matter.

1) He Himself modeled hope for us. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…, who for the joy set before him endured the cross…” (Heb. 12:2, NIV).

He was able to endure the torture of His death by the strength that hope gave Him. In His most agonizing moments, He had joy set before Him. This means that He was visualizing the indescribable reward coming, in the midst of unspeakable pain. Holding onto that picture is what empowered Him to stay on the cross for us until the very end.

If our Savior desperately needed hope to successfully complete His mission on earth, how much more so do we? He is our example to follow. What did He do? Set the joy. What are we to do? Set the joy. Visualize the immense reward coming. Perpetually watch it on the screen of our hearts. Fix our eyes on the goodness that is to come in Jesus. This brings me to our second point.

2) We need Holy Spirit to show us that goodness. “…Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope…” (Eph. 1:18, ESV).

We can only know what hope is ours through the ministry of Holy Spirit. If you read the whole context of this passage, you find that the previous verse is a prayer for a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus. In other words, a prayer for more of Holy Spirit. He is the Spirit of Wisdom. He is the Spirit of Understanding. He is the Spirit of the Knowledge of the Lord (see Isa. 11:2).

Holy Spirit is the only One who can enlighten the eyes of our hearts. He is the only One who can impart to us the picture of the goodness to come. If we are to set the joy, we need Him to show us what that joy is. I strongly encourage you to regularly pray this prayer from Ephesians over yourself and over your spiritual eyes. Daddy God, flood our hearts’ eyes with Your light! Show us what Your loving vision of our future is!

3) Hope is a gift. Hoping is a choice. “Why are you cast down, O my soul?… Hope in God…” (Ps. 42:5, NKJV).

The sons of Korah give us another example to follow in this psalm. We are to actively choose hope. So much of our relationship with God is a beautiful dance between receiving His gift, and engaging with it. Hope is no exception to this interplay.

On our own without Him, we have no real hope. We cry out to Him. Out of His sheer tender generosity, He lavishes on us this gift of hope, the enlightenment of our hearts. Then, He invites us to grow into His gift.

We grow into it by choosing to hope… even when our circumstances are difficult. In this Scripture, the psalmist shows us how. He makes reference, in both the verse preceding and the verse following, to… remembering. Actively remembering. Actively bringing to mind past experiences of the goodness and faithfulness of God. We see this modeled in Lamentations as well: “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope (3:21, NKJV). See the connection there between actively remembering, and the stimulation of hope?

There’s something so powerful about exhorting our own souls, “Hope in God!” Yet, even in doing so, we need Holy Spirit to continually breathe His empowering and revelation into our spirits. As we choose to cling to hope, He will faithfully strengthen and enlighten us on our journey ever deeper into hopefulness.

Today, let’s dance with God. Let’s allow these complementary truths to lead the steps:

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On your own journey with Jesus, what experience with Him has most fostered hope in your heart?

 

13 thoughts on “The Dance of Hope: Learning the Steps

  1. Loved this Jennifer. You said it so well – Hope is a gift and hoping is a choice. And our relationship with God is so much about receiving His gift but also engaging with it.
    May we fix our eyes on Him, engage more with our Lord and hold onto that hope.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Choosing just 1 experience with the Lord that foster’s hope is a difficult assignment Jennifer! Here’s the one that comes to mind: Because of my ruinous life as an active alcoholic, I had completed wiped out my family’s finances. When God called me to recovery, we were deeply in debt. Accepting my responsibility in causing this, I worked hard in the employment He made available to pay back all I owed.
    In so doing, there was nothing left for our kids college education. Still rather young in the faith, I simply asked God to show me what to do. I then became aware that one of the colleges in Syracuse NY was hiring a full time painter. I applied and got the job. One of the perks of working there is full tuition paid for your children. The one condition is that you have to be under their employ for three years to qualify. We made the deadline by 1 day for our oldest child!
    Hope was fully born in my heart at this point.
    Blessings,
    Chuck
    PS: As further evidence of God’s blessing being more than we can ever hope or imagine, our son also received a special scholarship based on his SAT scores that would have paid for his education even if I did not work there!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Chuck, oh my goodness, that puts the biggest smile on my face once again! Just… wow!!! What a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful heart of love, redemption, and unfailing provision our Daddy God has! I’m so truly grateful you shared this story with us! 🙂 🙂 🙂 (It personally encourages me too because my oldest daughter is approaching college age, and it’s been a walk of faith, trusting Him for provision for her education, as we live our missionary lives by faith. Your testimony has His breath on it, blowing inspiration on my faith 🙂 )

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I appreciated your observation that hoping is a choice. And you are so right: active remembering of God’s faithfulness is certain to expand our hope. I have found that keeping a journal of God’s provision, protection, answered prayers, blessings-not-asked-for, etc. has contributed greatly to my hope, because there in my notebook is the proof of God’s attentiveness. Also, when we choose to spend time with God each day, hope grows because we’re becoming better acquainted with the God of hope (Romans 15:13, which you quoted). With you I want the delight of dancing in hope with God!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I really enjoyed reading your post Jennifer. The hope we have through our Lord Jesus is what keeps us from day to day. No matter what happens we can look up to Jesus, He is our hope.

    Liked by 1 person

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