A few weeks ago, I shared a little bit about God’s goodness in causing us to hope in the midst of every circumstance as we walk by faith and not by sight. I’ve been digging a little deeper into this word “hope”. The first time hope is used in the Bible is when Naomi lamented to her daughters in law that her hope had been all but extinguished due to losing her sons and husband. Most of you probably know the next details – Orpah returned home, but Ruth “clung” to Naomi, determined to be a part of her life permanently. The Hebrew word for hope in this instance is tiqvah, which literally means “a cord”, and figuratively means “expectancy, hope, thing that I long for”. This word tiqvah comes from the root word qavah, which means to “bind together”.
I could probably spend the next, oh I don’t know, lifetime or so just dissecting all that this word hope means. But I’ll spare us the beginning of a novel for now. We can see in the story of Ruth and Naomi that they were bound together by loss and tragedy but also in uncertain expectancy about their new normal in Bethlehem. I then began to think of several other ways and things we hope and expect and long for…and what those things are tied to, as if by a cord. I love that our hope in Jesus Christ and His Word is an anchor for us (Hebrews 6:13-20). Our ultimate hope isn’t tied to or bound together with something fragile and unreliable, but instead our permanent adoption into the family of God forever guarantees that hope in Him will not disappoint. This hope is based on His character and faithfulness, not on ours or anyone else’s. When my hope is misplaced or misappropriated, I find myself anchored to things that were never meant to play that role.
Now, when I think about hope or when I am discouraged, I can picture myself holding a cord. The important part isn’t picturing myself though, it is finding the courage to be honest about what I see on the other end. Do I see myself inextricably tied to the great I Am or am I looking to someone or something else to be my hope? If it’s not God, I simply need to ask forgiveness for letting something other than Him take His place as my steadfastness and accept His grace and mercy as He teaches me to hope in Him unwaveringly, so much so that others may notice enough to seek Him for themselves.
“Be strong and let your hearts take courage, all you who wait for and confidently expect the Lord.” Psalm 31:24