To Hebrew Christians of the first century, facing a swirling number of problems and in danger of leaving Christ, words of encouragement to remain faithful and dedicated to their first love was the primary cause for the inspired words found in Hebrews. "...which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, which enters into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus..." (Hebrews 6:16-20). This hope stand for us today as well.
It is sometimes easy to become discouraged, to want to give up, to say what is the use of continuing in faith when we see the world at ease in physical pleasures of life. We are tempted to lose sight of the eternal treasures for earthly temporal things. In such moments, the heart reaches out for a refuge, a safe place, something that brings security and a feeling of comfort to withstand times of storms and difficulties. God has provided such an anchor for our most inner being and has given assurances that are steadfast through hope.
Hope naturally flows from the new birth, resting on the divine truth of the resurrection of Jesus (1 Peter 1:3). The new birth means that our minds absorb a new way of seeing ourselves, our lives and circumstances from God's spiritual point of view. This new birth takes our hope out of a world of shifting physical comfort into a realm of complete peace. This hope breaks us out of a prison of fear and running and anchors us into presence of perfect love and confidence in Christ and his resurrection. This love that comes through hope will cast out the fear of the world (1 John 4:18). In place of the despair and separation that comes with sin, there is assurance that a right relationship with the Creator God, his love for you, and his providential care that leads you through the enticements of the flesh. Hope springs from this soil of a new relationship with God in Christ. Without such a relationship, hope cannot give the security that we desperately desire.
Hope rests on the foundation of patience and the guiding comfort of Scripture (Romans 15:4). Patience is a resolve to endure, to bear up under the stress we experience. Comfort is the awareness of God's love and help as we draw near to Him and He to us (James 4:8). This is guided and nourished as we study the word of God and embrace it fully in our hearts without wavering in our faith in His promises.
Hope is available to those who come to the throne of grace, with boldness, so as to find mercy and grace to help in times of need (Hebrews 4:16). The throne of God (denoting His power and authority) is surrounded by unmeasurable grace that flows and evidenced by the giving of His only begotten son. This is the very thing that is needed in times of discouragement and depression. While we cannot see God's determined way for deliverance, we can know assuredly that deliverance will come at the right time and way that will carry us to the place God wants us. Ultimately, our hope will be left behind as God will reveal the true end of our sorrow, though we cannot imagine what that might be during the moments of our grief. Yet, hope will anchor us and we will rejoice in God's due season if we faint not (Galatians 6:9).
Our hope is then strengthened in trials as we conduct ourselves in proper faith, love and the awareness of salvation to be attained (1 Thessalonians 5:5-8). The life which is not in keeping with Jesus' example of patience, trust and sacrifice does not prepare us to appreciate the spiritual dimension of hope and confidence in God. But if hope is our anchor, even in the most desperate of times, when prayers seem to go unanswered, when death comes to our door and when it seems that there is no reward for faithfulness, hope will nourish the awareness of the spiritual realities, God's true faithfulness, and the value of His promises.
In times of stress, discouragement even to despair, we must hold fast to God's word. That word forges a new mind to see things as they really are and hope grows. Like an anchor, this hope will hold us steadfast and sure during no matter what storms we must weather. Rest on hope and cast your burden on Him. He cares for you!!
Kyle D. Massengale