The word “hope” is often used casually in day-to-day conversation as a word which conveys a desire for something to happen in the future.  Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it this way, “To cherish a desire with anticipation, to desire with expectation of obtainment, to expect with confidence; trust“.

I would like to share a few words today of how this word “hope” has played a role in my own life!

I was thinking back the other day on my earlier life, particularly my teen-age years…awhile ago!!  I have fond memories of many things, some not so pleasant, some wonderful…but sandwiched in between each memory is a little thing I can only define as “hope”.  What made those years so special and poignant in my mind today is the fact I was looking forward with anticipation and hope to my adult life, where I “hoped” to fulfill all of my dreams and ambitions!  I could hardly wait to get out of school, to begin my career, to get married, to start a family, on and on.  I could see my music career blossom (I hoped!), my handsome husband and adorable children, my gorgeous home, lots of travel, lovely clothes, lots of money to spend, and on and on!  Did all of my hopes materialize?  Well, you probably know from your own life that rarely do things turn out the way you “hoped” they would!  Did that mean I was a failure?  Or did God perhaps have a slightly different plan in mind for my life than I had “hoped” for?

Sure, many of the things I hoped would happen certainly did, but not always in the way I had envisioned. Was my life a success?  “Hopefully” in God’s eyes it has been.  Certainly, in my mind, I have failed to achieve the great dreams of my youth.  However, maybe a far more important goal has been reached; that of being a blessing to even one person who needed to receive a touch from the Lord; encouraging even one person in their walk with God; leading someone to Christ; blessing someone with the gift of music; teaching a young child to play an instrument or sing God’s praises! Did it always involve the big stage or worldwide adulation?  Hardly!  However, God, who is the final judge on success and achievement sees us all on a completely different scale than the world does.  It is by His standards that I hope to someday be judged and hear Him say, “Well done, you good and faithful servant!”

So, how does “hope” play into my life now that I am older and have much of it to look back on? I look to the Psalmist David, who said in Psalm 37:25, “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.”  (ESV)  In Psalm 42:5 he says, “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.”  (ESV)

Even as we get older (and we are all on that path!) we should never give up on “hope“, which is really trust in God!  Hope for the future; hope for our nation; hope for our children and grandchildren; hope that the ministry God has destined for us to fulfill will be brought forth in our lifetime; hope for abundance in every area of our lives, spiritual as well as material!  Hopelessness brings despair, which leads to despondency.  At this time of year many people are deeply lonely as the holiday season conjures up old, painful memories.  Some even resort to taking their own lives during this time, listening to Satan’s lies that there is no hope for them and therefore they should end the misery they are feeling.  Some have chronic pain and health concerns in their physical bodies that make them want to give up and “throw in the towel”, so to speak.  Today, I would like to encourage everyone who feels a sense of hopelessness in their lives to look up and let God bring you into joy and victory through His Word and your praise and worship to Him!  Proverbs 10:28 says,, “The hope of the righteous brings joy….”  (ESV) and Paul writes in Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”  (ESV)

Should we lose hope as we grow older and realize that some of our dreams did not transpire and our lives turned out quite differently than we anticipated?  Absolutely not!  We need to continue to hope for the future, realizing that if we had received everything we thought we wanted, our lives would probably be a big mess in many ways!  Our Sovereign God knows best what (and who) we need in our lives, and even as we look backward with fond memories, being careful not to “live in the past”,  we can also look ahead to even better days, days of fulfillment of God’s promises to us, our children and grandchildren, rewarding days filled with the benefits of a life lived for the Lord and confidence achieved through valuable lessons learned!

Perhaps you are waiting on God for the fulfillment of a dream or the ability to carry out the ministry you believe He has called you to!  Perhaps you are waiting for that special someone to love, one who will become your spouse!  Never give up hope….God has a timing for all things as you trust Him!  Just give your circumstances to God and watch Him work as you leave them in His hands!  By way of personal testimony, I became a widow over seven years ago when God called my husband home after he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.  I really never knew what loneliness was until I was forced to come home to an empty house night after night.  Even though I looked for love and found some romantic relationships during this time, I did not find my “Mr. Right” immediately.  When I had all but given up hope of ever finding my “life’s companion”, God brought my wonderful husband to me and we have been happily married for almost three years now!  He knew just the right person was there for me and He knew the right time for us to meet!  So, never give up hope!

What does all of this have to do with music?  Well, I would start singing songs about “hope” to the Lord….you might start with the old hymn, “The Solid Rock”,  which says,  “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness!”  Never lose HOPE, and don’t forget that FAITH goes along with hope!!

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