Today I want to write to you about HOPE, specifically unsinkable hope. I’m writing this with excerpts taken from my book The Divine Invitation.
Hope is simply a strong and confident expectation of good things to come. It is like a lifeline that drops down from heaven and invites us to grab it, hold on tightly, and let it carry us upward. I picture it like a hot air balloon in the sky, defying gravity, inflated with the breath of God. Hope floats.
When I was in college, I had an opportunity to attend an Urbana Missions Conference in Urbana, Illinois. One of the main speakers there was Corrie Ten Boom. For those of you who may not know of her, she was a Dutch Christian woman who was captured along with all her family, by the Nazis in WW2, then imprisoned in a concentration camp. Her family harbored Jews in their home to hide them from the Nazis. When they were discovered, they were all sent to the concentration camp. There her whole family died except for her. She wrote a book called The Hiding Place in which she tells the whole story. A movie was also made from the book.
At that time, Corrie was an elderly lady with gray hair, support hose and orthotic shoes. She looked every bit like a Dutch grandma! I was a twenty-one-year-old Jesus person in ragged bell bottom jeans with long straight blond hair, a child of the 70’s. But that day, when I heard her speak, she became my sister, a spiritual Mother from afar, a kindred spirit to me. Corrie told her story of the atrocities she had seen and lived through, the hardest of which was the death of her entire family in the concentration camp. She shared about how the Lord came to her when she was no longer able to take it anymore, when her heart was overwhelmed, and she was at the point of giving up. She said many people around her died because their hearts just gave up, they lost the will to live. She quoted Romans 5:5, saying this was her favorite verse:
“. . . and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5 NASB
At her very lowest point, the Holy Spirit came upon her and flooded her heart with the experience of His love. She felt overwhelmingly, unconditionally loved and was lifted up from that low, low place to the heights of His living, loving Presence. That was, she said, how she made it out of that awful, evil place alive. She emerged from there and went around the world telling her story and inviting people to come to Jesus. She had an amazing life and ministry. She never married, she just loved the Lord and served Him as a single woman wholeheartedly to the very end of her days.
I was riveted as she spoke, not even sure why I was so drawn to her and her message. When I was in the midst of my very own “Job” story, her words from thirty years before came back to me. Truthfully, it came to me many times before then when hard times came, and I was tempted to lose hope. Romans 5:5 is now my favorite verse too.
I’ve come to understand that hope is the anchor for faith and love. If we lose hope, we lose heart, and we give in to despair.
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV
In this world, disappointment comes easily, and it is the ground where the enemy will try to do His dirtiest work. The enemy’s goal is to cause us to lose heart as Corrie was tempted to in the concentration camp.
I think of Sarah, who hoped in God, not perfectly, but ultimately she did. When she waited so long for a child, the day came when she felt like she couldn’t take it anymore. Then she made a poor choice with Hagar her maidservant and took matters into her own hands. The result was not what she had hoped for! Her heart had been weakened by grief and disappointment, as evidenced by her pained laugh when an angel showed up to promise that the baby she had hoped for would be born one year from that time. Then when that baby was born, she truly, joyfully laughed as her hope was fulfilled at the birth of Isaac! (whose name means Laughter) Sarah went down in the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith.” (Hebrews 11:11, 12) Even though she hoped and believed imperfectly, she is one of the heroes of faith. This is an example that is attainable for all of us!
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12 NIV
When our hearts are overwhelmed, God comes to us with that Romans 5:5 love outpouring in our hearts, He compensates us with that love. He gives us the hope that does not disappoint, that isn’t anchored in OUTCOMES. It’s simply anchored in the ocean of His love. That is the deepest longing of our heart fulfilled.
There’s a reason HOPE has always been symbolized by an anchor. I used to have a charm bracelet with an anchor, a cross, and a heart—hope, faith, and love. Hope anchors the other two.
Faith and love spring from an undying hope that has been rightly placed in the love of God.
I believe that by the grace of God, it is entirely possible for us to choose to be unsinkable, refuse to be deflated and to maintain a strong and confident expectation of good things to come. Lord, I open my heart today to receive that Romans 5:5 love outpouring that will anchor my heart in the right place, that grace-gift of UNSINKABLE HOPE.
With love and prayers,