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Hope That Does Not Disappoint

By Aaron KauffmanAaron M. Kauffman

Where does hope come from? From optimism about the future? From careful planning to manage the unknown? From confidence in human ingenuity, wealth or strength?

These can be temptations for all of us. Yet Scripture tells us that God alone is the source of our hope. Psalm 31:24 (NIV) declares, “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”

Not surprisingly, the book of the Bible with the most references to hope is the Psalms. It is in prayer and praise that we place our hope in God despite life’s trials.

Coming in second place in the number of references to hope, however, is the book of Job. Suffering and hope are linked.

As Job ponders his profound losses of family, wealth, and personal health, the topic of hope emerges. Unable to understand the meaning of his suffering, Job cries out (6:11): “What strength do I have, that I should still hope?” If anything, Job expresses defiant hope, longing to confront God for what he believes is unjust treatment. “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face” (13:15).

In contrast, Job’s friends find ways to blame him for his troubles. They have a simplistic equation. Those who do right prosper. Those who do wrong suffer. Since Job is suffering, the answer is clear. He must have done something to deserve it. If only Job would turn from sin, he would have a reason to hope again. As his friend Zophar promises, “if you put away the sin that is in your hand… You will surely forget your trouble… You will be secure, because there is hope” (11:14, 16, 18).

After an exhausting 35 chapters of point and counterpoint between Job and his friends, God finally speaks. Essentially, the Lord says, “You’re both wrong. The answer is not in justifying yourself before me or in blaming people for their suffering. My ways are beyond your comprehension. You must trust in my sovereign goodness even when you can’t see it.”

We find hope not in seeking an explanation for our trouble but in clinging to God’s goodness despite our circumstances.

Ultimately, that’s what our Lord Jesus did as he faced the cross, abandoned by his friends and seemingly by God himself.

“Abba, Father,” Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36).

Because Jesus walked the path of suffering and death and came out victorious on the other side, we can have hope in God’s plan to make all things new, regardless of our present troubles. Indeed, “hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Rom. 5:5).

In this season of uncertainty, may we find our hope in God and the fact that “we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Heb. 12:28).