The Bible speaks often about how present circumstances do not determine our hope. Living faithfully in exile is an invitation to see the bigger picture beyond the small hopes of temporary happiness. The road to hope begins with coming to the end of ourselves and our efforts to make our lives perfect. Despite obstacles and disappointments, we can live for a greater purpose and have ultimate hope. In the Bible, God’s people lived in exile, yet God promised them hope. Paul wrote about hope and encouragement from prison. The church grew in the midst of persecution, because its hope was not in circumstances but in God alone. The journey to hope begins when we come to the end of ourselves and focus on our identities in Christ as God’s image bearers instead of on mere circumstances.
We will never get to true hope by trying to fool ourselves into being satisfied with small, attainable goals. Hope is not found in small, selfish thinking. Moving toward hope requires that we embrace truth. That truth is that we are designed by God to live a story of His glory. The hopeless person does not think too big—he thinks too small. So, as the road to hope widens before you, realize that you have a purpose in your life. In Christ, you are a chosen child of God and therefore a part of the family of God.
Once we move beyond our circumstances and understand the grand purpose God has given us, a look in the rearview mirror is helpful. Remember how God has been faithful in the past. Read and study Bible passages that demonstrate His faithfulness. Look around—you will see you are not alone. Life is not meant to be lived alone. We must realize that others are with us, others also struggle, and others will need our help and encouragement along the way. Look closer still and we will see our true companion. Christ is in us and His Spirit is empowering us.
Along with a new focus, a grand purpose, companions on each side, and Christ as your strength, the road to hope requires gratitude and prayer. It is impossible to have gratitude and hopelessness simultaneously. To continue on the road to hope, we will need to thank God frequently in our prayers.
At this point in the journey to hope, we will notice some resistance. Hopelessness is a con man that keeps us from loving, trying, and dreaming—in an odd way, hopelessness can become comfortable for us. We want hope, but we want to be in charge. We want hope, but we want to justify not loving others and God. In the book of Isaiah, God invites His children to participate in His plan, to trust and live in His covenants, and to anticipate His provision:“Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.” (Isa. 55:2)
As we travel toward hope, let us remember to keep perspective and focus on Him. Let us not squander our lives with goals that will not satisfy. The old man was right: “Pray and go to church.” There we will be reminded once more where real, eternal hope lies.