When people are in need of physical healing, hope can be hard to find. For the Christian, hope is never far away. Following Jesus may not lead to health, wealth, and prosperity on earth, but we can rest assured he is still the high King of heaven.
There will be seasons in life when your hope begins to break. Let these “hope builders” be an anchor for your soul.
Hope Builder #1: Jesus will finish what he has started in you
I don’t know about you, but I often forget about the heroes of the faith that are already in heaven experiencing what we wait for with expectancy. We don’t know for certain (theologically speaking) if our loved ones who are saved are watching and cheering us on, but we do know that a “cloud of witnesses” is already in heaven who see first-hand what Jesus can do. We also know that Jesus promises to have the last word when it comes to our glorious future. That’s a big deal because if what you’re facing breeds hopelessness, remembering who you belong to and who is behind you will build hopefulness! The author of Hebrews will take it from here. I’ve added some emphasis on the phrases I want you to meditate on:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1–3)
The same faith that saved Abraham is the same faith that you can have in Jesus. You can endure this life not by your own strength, but with his. This passage also has a key reminder about laying aside sins and weights that slow you down and keep you from experiencing greater joy in Jesus. Some people prefer to hold on to sins and weights like bitterness, unforgiveness, addictions, or even hatred, because these reactions help us falsely justify our anger and hopelessness. These help us play the victim rather than the victor. Others struggle with hopelessness because their hope is attached to all the wrong things. When your hope is wrapped up in the things of this world and not Jesus, you’re bound to be disappointed.
A pastor-friend of mind likens holding on to bitterness and anger while trying to run the race of the Christian life to trying to run a marathon while wearing a parka. You may make it to the finish line, but you’ll undoubtedly be overheated and are certain to double or triple the time it would’ve taken to reach your destination. Focus on Jesus so that you don’t grow weary and lose heart.
Hope Builder #2: Jesus has been where you are and beat it
It’s one thing if Jesus was a detached deity who dwelt in some far-off, distant place. How unrelatable would that be? Even in the beginning of creation our God walked with his creation in some manner and form (Genesis 3:8). He is holy, and set apart, yet he is still personal and relatable.
The author of Hebrews again delivers a hope builder as Jesus is explained as one who has been where we’ve been and can sympathize with us. Hebrews 4:14–16 declares,
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Jesus walked the road you’re on and did it perfectly. If he’s your Savior, you’re going to make it not because of you, but in spite of you. Because of him, you aren’t holding on to hope. Hope is holding on to you!
Hope Builder #3: Jesus hasn’t left you alone
One of the greatest fears that Jesus’ disciples had was the same fear that many people struggle with today. We think, I don’t want to be alone. His promise to them is still a promise for us when he said, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18). These words that foreshadow his glorious return sit between both a promise for the coming of the Holy Spirit and that Jesus is in them, and they are in him. All in all, those who have Jesus are never alone. When loneliness rears its ugly head, the believer can put it right back in its place by remembering the promises that Jesus made. If this doesn’t work, you may need to look deeper at what you depend on.
I want to challenge you to assess your heart when it comes to dependency on people. As a people person, I am with you on the importance of relationships, friendships, and leaning on trustworthy people. At the same time, I believe that we can have an overdependence on people and replace the priority of time with Jesus with time with people. When loneliness hits us, an overdependent person thinks, I just need to be with people before they think, I just need to be with Jesus. Let me reiterate: we were made for relationships and need to lean on people. However, loneliness will persist when our dependence is on people, and not on Jesus. If you are a believer, you are never alone. You may feel lonely, but Jesus is only a whisper away. You can talk to him, share your heart with him, and put your hope in him. Go to him first. He is there.
Hope Builder #4: Jesus promises that your pain will have purpose
One of the questions we tend to ask when enduring a painful experience in life is, what it is this all for? Even if we have a high tolerance for painful trials, we usually have a low tolerance for not knowing what it is all for. The Bible repeatedly tells us that our pain and trials are going to have purposeful results. James 1:2 tells us that the testing of our faith is going to produce endurance. Who doesn’t want more endurance for this life? Pain and trials are one way that Jesus accomplishes that process. Like an athlete, the way to grow your endurance is to stretch your limits and push yourself beyond where you’ve been before. Slowly, but surely, you will be one who endures.
Romans 5:3–5 is another passage that shows us the purpose in pain. Paul explains that through suffering our character is being built up, and that character-building process will produce more hope! The cross of Jesus Christ is the greatest example of this hope builder. Through the cross, Jesus endured much pain, but none of it was pointless. No pain ever is. God will give it purpose.
Is your hope built on Jesus? Trust him to turn your pain into purpose.
I wrote this resource to serve every single person in the body of Christ. More Than a Healer puts a high focus on Christ, and gives answers to some of the toughest questions people ask about healing, sickness, suffering, and hope. Each chapter has reflection questions for study that will take people into the Bible and into meaningful discussion. As a pastor, I appreciate when other leaders put together resources that help with the “heavy lifting” on certain topics. I hope you are blessed by our partnership together through this resource and your church members grow closer to Jesus no matter what they are facing.