Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
The state of the family is not good in Western culture, even among Christians. In the population at large, fewer people are choosing to get married. Cohabitation numbers are up. Childbirths are down—except for children born out of wedlock. Specifically among Christians, the state of marriage and family health has paralleled that of societies as a whole.
For many reasons, these facts are troubling. Perhaps the main reason is that the family was created by God to be a cornerstone for society and a bulwark, refuge, and source of hope for family members. The first thing God did after creating the woman in the Garden of Eden was to unite her with the man. The very first thing! That speaks volumes about the importance of the family for mankind—especially after sin entered the world. When all hope seems to be lost in the world, there should be hope, love, and security to be found within the walls of the family.
No family is perfect, but God can rebuild broken walls and restore lost dreams. By the grace of God we must do all we can to keep families strong and full of the hope that comes from fulfilling God’s ideal.
No other structure can replace the family.
[He] was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
1 Peter 1:20b-21
When counselors encourage their clients to “have faith and hope,” a reasonable response might be, “Faith in what? Hope in what?” For sure, encouraging a discouraged person to have a positive attitude and a bright outlook can be helpful. But in truth, faith and hope are only as good as their object. Which would be wiser when faced with walking across a frozen pond: great faith in a very thin sheet of ice or weak faith in a very thick sheet of ice? If the object of faith is most important, weak faith in a thick sheet of ice would be better and safer.
Peter says that God demonstrated, through Christ’s resurrection and glorification, that our faith and hope should be in God. The Resurrection is history’s greatest demonstration that life eternal awaits all who put their faith and hope in God. And if we have that certainty for the end of life on earth, we can depend on it to keep faith and hope alive until we get there.
Develop your faith and hope in God by renewing your mind with His “exceedingly great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4).
The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
The kingdom of God is full of paradoxes: we receive by giving, we live by dying, we receive honor by dishonor, and more. One of those paradoxes is that we gain hope by suffering, which seems odd. Normally, we seem most hopeful when things are going well, and we lose hope when we suffer. But, not surprisingly, the Bible says the opposite.
Paul explains how suffering leads to hope in Romans 5:3-4. Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. Later, in Romans 8:24-25, he clarifies what hope is. Hope is what carries us through when we can’t see the outcome. It’s what allows us to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Paul writes, “For why does one still hope for what he sees?” (Romans 8:24) If we can see the outcome of our trials then we have no need to hope. But when we cannot see the outcome, our hope carries us through—if we persevere and develop the character of Christ.
Regardless of your situation today, there is hope because there is God. Cling to Him through the promises of His Word. Hope never disappoints (Romans 5:5).
True faith is ever connected with hope.
She has done what she could.
Wess Stafford wrote about a teacher assigned to work with a hospitalized schoolchild on nouns and adverbs. Arriving at the hospital, she was taken to the burn unit. She had to scrub and put on sterile attire, and she found the schoolboy in pain. The teacher felt apprehensive, but she told the boy, “I’m the special visiting hospital teacher, and your teacher sent me to help you with your nouns and adverbs.” She went through the material with him and then left, feeling little had been accomplished.
The next morning when she returned, the nurses met her and said, “Since you were here yesterday his whole attitude has changed. He’s fighting back, responding to treatment…it’s as though he’s decided to live.”
What had happened? The boy himself later explained: “They wouldn’t send a special teacher to work on nouns and adverbs with a dying boy, now, would they?”1
Sometimes we impart hope to others by just showing up with compassion and doing what we can in the name of Christ. When we do what we can, He will bless what we do and all we do.
There is something fundamentally wrong with claiming to love God without a passion to love people.