A woman whose husband was missing in the World Trade Center tragedy on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 gave birth Thursday evening to a daughter. She didn't want to name the child without her husband. The doctor, due to a hospital requirement for a name on the birth certificate, named her "Hope," as a symbol for what all of us desperately need.
The human spirit must have hope to survive. Without it, we wither and die. Without hope, we have nothing worthwhile to look forward to in the future. Hope is forward looking, seeking something we both need and desire.
Before becoming Christians, the members of the church at Ephesus had “no hope and were without God....” Since then, they had been "brought near" to God through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:12-13). The apostle Paul saw hope, combined with faith and love, as a lasting characteristic of the divine nature of God in man. "... now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13).
The same vibrant trio of faith, hope and love is found in twice in Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.
[We remember] “...before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” 1 Thessalonians 1:3.
“...since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation” 1 Thessalonians 5:8
We must not forget the devil wants to rob us of our hope by making us lose our faith in God. He wants us to believe that God has abandoned us. He wants us to feel unloved by God and others. He wants us to complain that live is unfair and unjust.
When we feel hopeless, we are not alone in those feelings. Likely no one is completely free of a sense of hopelessness. The patriarch Job said, "What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects that I should be patient?" (6:11 NIV). Elijah, one f the greatest prophets of the Hebrew people, said in a desperate lament to God, "...the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away" (1 Kings 19:10).
The question for us is - how will we react to God's attempts to give us courage and renewed hope? Like Cain, who killed his brother in disappointment and bitterness? Or like Job, who said later in his ordeal, "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him" (13:15).
Through those in scripture, the Holy Spirit consistently urges us to hope in God. David pleaded, "For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him" (Psalm 62:5).
The apostle Paul said that the "hope of salvation" is a helmet of protection for the child of God (1 Thessalonians 5:8). Without it, we are exposed to the hammer blows of the devil.
In all of life's circumstances, let’s remember that we can put our complete hope in God.