Day 3: Instill Hope
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
Psalm 42:11 ESV
What’s the worst that can happen? I’ll die and go to heaven.
During a season of fierce anxiety, these were the words I used to battle the fear. But they usually didn’t come until I had made three U-turns on the highway attempting to get to my destination.
The promised hope of heaven filled me with the faith to overcome fear and move forward.
I took a weekend to visit my daughter, and was excited to go with her to worship. The worship music began and the leader talked of lamenting. She called us to a time of lamentation, to name the things and hard circumstances we’ve been walking through lately.
This is my prayer in the desert
When all that’s within me feels dry
This is my prayer and my hunger in me
My God is the God who provides.
And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flame.
And this is my prayer in my battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I’ll stand.
I’m prone to cover my lament, my need to allow sadness to have its work in me for fear I might get stuck there. The lyrics reminded me in every battle there is struggle and hardness. I’ll walk through dry places and wait for victory. There is a season for everything. A time to mourn and a time to dance.
As I allowed myself to name the things I’m lamenting over, I found hope. Hope in a God who refines and provides. Hope in the reality of who I am and whose foundation I stand.
I will sing praise, I will sing praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain.
I will rejoice, I will declare
God is my victory and He is here.
All of my life, in every season You are still God
I have reason to sing.
I have reason to worship.
–Desert Song, Hillsong United
In a dark world where despair, death, and discouragement seem to rule the day, it’s hard for a soul to have hope.
Read Psalm 102:1-11
What does the psalmist ask of God? Why?
List the darkness pressing in on the writer of this psalm.
These words were penned by one who longs for God to hear his prayer. To answer quickly. His days seem numbered, his pain penetrates his bones. Discouraged, he forgets to eat. He moans all night like an owl, unable to sleep.
Enemies taunt him. And his own sins haunt him. The physical description of pain above, may well be the result of spiritual and emotional trauma. The enemy works daily to draw our attention from God Our Hope and keep us in a pit of despair.
But the psalmist will not go down without a fight.
Read Psalm 102:12-28
What does the psalmist turn his mind toward?
Finding ways to remember our hope in God is essential to our journey of faith, when the enemy, and even our own flesh, wants us to choose despair. Job’s wife, in his misery, told him: Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die (Job 2:9).
Many far from God are quick to blame Him for all our troubles, when in reality we brought trouble on ourselves through sin. It’s a much harder but sure road, to choose truth and instill hope into our lives.
The writer of Psalm 102, reminded himself of all God’s attributes. Reasons to praise Him and trust Him to come through in the end. List the reasons he found to infuse his soul with hope.
The psalmist had a singular purpose in recording this psalm: Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord (Psalm 102:18).
The writer knew the importance of instilling hope in God’s people and praising God is one of the best ways to do just that.
Read Psalm 103:1-5
Who is the writer speaking to? What are his instructions?
The psalmist is speaking to his own soul. Bless the Lord, O my soul…
Some translations use bless (ESV, NKJV, NASB), while others use praise (NIV, HCSB, NLT). Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits… (Psalm 103:2-3 NIV).
When hope fades and despair looms large, it’s time to shake up your soul with a little praise. Remind your inner being who God is and remember all His blessings.
What benefits does the psalmist list in the verses?
Are these benefits you need to remember today? Take a moment to write a prayer of praise. Choose the blessings you need to be reminded of most right now. Ones which speak hope into places you are feeling hope-less. Then pray it to Him. Praise His holy name.
When faith is being sure of what we hope for, it’s necessary to find ways to continually infuse our lives with hope as the world tries to steal it from us.
Read Proverbs 24:13-14
What is like honey? Why is it good?
Wisdom is a way to bless our lives with hope. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10). Hope increases when we remember God is far greater and to be feared more than the evil in the world. The way of wisdom leads to life (Ecclesiastes 7:12), and the more we know what to do in every circumstance because of His wisdom, the more hope we have.
Read Lamentations 3:19-26
Even though Jeremiah, the author of Lamentations, was brought low by trials, what did he do to fill himself with hope?
He reminds himself of God’s faithfulness and mercy. Trusting God’s goodness and waiting for His deliverance fills us with hope and helps us persevere. He is trustworthy.
Read Zechariah 9:9-12
God, speaking through the prophet Zechariah, calls His people to rejoice, why?
What is the primary reason His exiled people should have hope?
O prisoners of hope… God refers to His own people as prisoners of hope because of the blood covenant He has made with them. His promise to set free and restore double what was lost is reason for us to rejoice and see ourselves as prisoners of hope.
God cannot lie. Every one of His promises is cause for hope. To wait – even though a captive – with joyful, expectant, hope. The blood covenant referred to is prophetic of Jesus. A covenant kept and one we still wait to be completely fulfilled at His return.
His return is guaranteed. A part of the promise. Fill your soul with reminders of His promises. Be hope-full.
Read Romans 15:4
What hope-filling source do we find here?
His Word. All Scripture was written to encourage us and fill us with hope. Be in His Word each day. His Word reveals who He is, gives us reasons to praise His name. The Bible contains His promises, ones He cannot break. Story upon story, hope-filling accounts of His faithfulness are found in its pages. And His Word teaches us wisdom, giving us a foundation for a hope-full future.
Read Philippians 1:18-20
For what reason does Paul find to hope for deliverance?
The prayers of Believers praying for him and the help of the Spirit fill Paul with hope of freedom and vindication.
The first resources for hope we explored are primarily directed toward the filling of our own souls with hope. Because if we don’t have hope we certainly can’t offer any to others. Here, Paul points out how we can fill others with hope. Praying for them in the power of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18).
To be hope-full in a world where most struggle with depression these days, is to be a light in a world of darkness. As our faith actions manifest hope, others will see and want to know the source of our hope.
Be faithful, instill hope. In your life and the lives of others.
Talk It Out
Talk it over with yourself:
In what area of your life are you lacking hope? Why?
Consider your thought life when it comes to your struggles with despair. Are they focused on God Our Hope? or the doubts the enemy instills?
Talk it over with God:
Ask God why you struggle with areas of despair in your life. Ask Him how to fill those dark places with the light of hope.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Psalm 43:5 NIV
Exercise Your Faith
Today, choose one of the hope instilling disciplines we talked about. Begin practicing it regularly. Instill the hope you need to fuel your faith.
- Praise Him.
- Seek His wisdom.
- Trust His faithfulness.
- Remember His promises.
- Be in His Word.
- Pray in the Spirit.
Reflection Scripture: Creative Journaling
Take a look at your creative journaling reflection of hope so far. Ask Jesus, our One Hope, to come. Focus your thoughts on Him as you read the Reflection Scripture.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13 ESV
Add to your creation as He leads.