The Right Kind of Hope

I laid on my back and strained my neck to the side away from the monitor. I felt the jelled probe circle over my stomach, searching for healthy life.

I didn’t want to look at that monitor. I didn’t know what I would see, and I was afraid of what I might not see. I knew the bleeding still hadn’t stopped, and I didn’t want to see my nightmare come to life: miscarriage.

Earlier that day I began bleeding and my husband rushed us to the hospital. We knew that this early bleeding could be a sign of miscarriage. 

Through the pain and the fear, one thing would keep us from breaking apart: Hope.  

What is hope? Hope is our refuge, the attitude that drives our perseverance. Hope is what we cling to when there is nothing left to grasp. Even in the worst of misery, hope is what keeps us going. Hope fuels us forward and motivates us to keep going when all we can see is a bleak future. Hope leads to joy.

Except for the times when it doesn’t. 

Except for the times when our hope disappoints.

Except for the times our hope is crushed.

Except for the times our hope only leads to more worry and fear.

We want hope that will help us persevere in the suffering that will inevitably come. But for our hope to do this, it needs to be set on something. Hope doesn’t come alone—though hope may seem like an ambiguous concept, it needs to be placed on something sure if we are to persevere.

Friend, which kind of hope do you have? Is your hope sure, or does it only lead to more pain and anxiety?

Hope That Leads to Anxiety

Since I saw that little dial on my pregnancy test change to say, “1-2 weeks pregnant,” I set my hope on life. 

My hope needed constant adjustment. Each time I thought, “My baby will be safe when…” I came to the devastating realization that I still couldn’t keep my baby safe. My baby could die in my womb after 13 weeks. My child could be stillborn. My infant could pass away in his crib. Piece by piece, I realized how hopeless my hope was, and each day I became more anxious.

Is your hope in the same kind of shifting place? 

Maybe your hope is in having enough money, but you can’t find a job to sustain you. Perhaps your hope is in your husband changing his ways, but you know he is a sinful human. Maybe your hope is in your healthy lifestyle, but healthy people are dying of disease. 

These are the kinds of hope that disappoint. They can make no promises to you. This kind of hope is blind.

If you cling to a hope like this, you can expect to live each day looking around the corner to see if that hope is about to fail you. You can expect to cry in fear because you don’t know if your hope will come through. With a hope like this, anxiety will follow.

Resetting Our Hope 

One night I said to my husband, “I will never be able to keep our baby fully safe—will I? I can never guarantee my baby will live.”

He locked his gentle brown eyes on mine. “No, you won’t. But God is sovereign and good.”

That phrase would work its way into my heart to become my new refrain. I can guarantee nothing, but praise God heis sovereign and good. Each time my heart raised a new fear, a new possibility to take my child’s life, I would stop, and at times through tears whisper to my heart, But God is sovereign and good

That battle climaxed when the blood came. Through tears, through strained silences, through the waiting, there were times when the only words we could murmur were, “He is sovereign and good.” 

This is our only sure hope: God himself. Our God is never changing, always faithful, eternally existent, forever perfect, exceedingly wise, and continually sovereign. None can stop him. If your hope is set on him, you will have the hope that leads to joy. Though he allows the suffering, you can find joy knowing it was for your good (Romans 8:28-30). Though he may take away, you know that was the wisest choice. Though he may not give you the life you dreamed, you can know he gave you the better one. When all appears out of control, you know he is soverign. When you can’t provide, he can. 

What is even more beautiful about this hope is that it is strengthened as we endure trials. Romans 5:1-5 says,  

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” 

As believers, God uses trials and suffering to strengthen our hope. We can have joy in our trials because of our secure hope and the growth it will produce. 

For the Journey

As I laid on the bed, staring at the pale yellow walls next to me, the doctor finally spoke. “I see a baby moving in there.”

I turned my head and strained to see the screen. “Really?”

He smiled and tilted the screen down. “Yes, everything looks great.” 

I cried, and the sweet refrain continued in my heart. God is sovereign and good.

Today, with a growing baby in my arms, I continue to learn how to repeat that refrain—in the midst of unending crying, long hours of the night, sickness, postpartum depression, and the like. Fears of his salvation, his development, my parenting, my ability to teach him, and how others will treat him circle my heart. Some days its still through tears that I remember that refrain, but I fight to believe that all of his life is in God’s sovereign and good hands.

Whatever it takes, set your hope on God. The temptation may come to turn to other things to hope in, but I encourage you to fight to set your hope on God. Maybe it will mean memorizing a Bible verse that reminds you of your steadfast hope in God. Maybe in each anxious moment you will need to stop yourself and ask, “What am I setting my hope on?” and follow with a reminder to hope in God. Maybe all you can say is in that painful moment is, “God is sovereign and good,” and God will carry you the rest of the way. 

Friend, hope in God alone. He is the only Rock that will never crumble.