Hope Springs Eternal

“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” —Romans 5:5, NKJV

Alexander Pope is credited with the proverb, “Hope springs eternal in the human heart.” Though this adage is often applied to earthly and statistically hopeless pursuits, like winning a sweepstakes or finding lost treasure, I believe the philosopher had a more heavenly and eternal view in mind when noting this God-given capacity of the human spirit. This principle seems to refer to the indomitable spirit of hope and intense purpose that is seen when people encounter dreadful life circumstances.

In my mind, the biblical record of Jeremiah purchasing land (Jeremiah 32) amidst the turmoil and terror of the Babylonian siege is closer to the intended spirit of Pope’s proverb. In that account, Jeremiah was locked up in the king’s prison for faithfully declaring the word from God that His judgment was preparing to fall on Judah. That judgment would take the form of the marauding Babylonian army.

In short order, that fearful army had laid siege to Jerusalem and the situation was deemed hopeless. The people were liquidating their property and possessions in desperation, accepting any price they could get. It was a national “fire sale.” However, when everyone else was selling property for any price, Jeremiah was a buyer, paying the standard peacetime price for land from his prison cell. Not only did he purchase property, he had the deed recorded by the elders.

This was a testament to his hopeful faith in God’s promise that the Children of Israel would return to the Promised Land. What a powerful message!

No doubt to the temporal-minded Jeremiah appeared to be gullible and shortsighted in the extreme. But in reality, he was the wisest and most farsighted of them all. His focus was not on earthly circumstances but on the heavenly promise. Jeremiah was able to stand above circumstance because of his faith in God.

Like Jeremiah, our wisest course of action is to believe God; and not just a mental-assent type of belief, but a hopeful, life-transforming faith. A belief that models the principle so beautifully expressed in the hymn “The Solid Rock”: My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name! On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand!

“Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee” (Jer. 32:17, KJV).

Prayer for the week: Dear Father, pour out Your grace upon me today that I may stand in the hopeful promise of Your redemption. By Your grace, may I shine the hope of Christ to family and friends and all whom I meet. Be glorified in your church and in my life, particularly! In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.

Dan Gilmore is district superintendent of the Northern Michigan District.

Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today.