Hope Springs Eternal! When You Need to Know Life Will Get Better
Hope springs eternal, they say. What does that mean, and why can we continue to hope, even if there is no evidence indicating what we want will come to pass?
Does hope spring eternal?
Several years ago, my dad died suddenly and unexpectedly. We very quickly saw God’s hand in the circumstances and timing of his death, but grief is still grief and rises when you least expect it.
A year to the day of his death happened to be a Sunday, and for some reason that I don’t remember, I didn’t go to my own church that morning. I can count on one hand the times I have attended a church other than my own or a family member’s in the last dozen years.
It was pouring rain. I drove to a little nearby Lutheran church, dashed inside to avoid getting too soaked, and took a seat, hoping to not look too conspicuous. Midway through the service, my heart leaped as an old favorite tune played: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” We don’t sing the traditional version of this hymn at my home church, but we had sung it at my dad’s funeral.
There in the midst of strangers, my throat caught and my eyes welled up with tears. I smiled at God. He knew! He knew just what I had needed that day, and He had orchestrated a hundred details of my life to remind me in song of the hope of heaven.
I say “Hope springs eternal” all the time, but I had to look up its origins. It turns out Alexander Pope, an 18th century English poet, wrote these wise words in An Essay on Man: Epistle 1:
Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
Man never is, but always to be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
Does hope really spring eternal? Why do people continue to hope, even if there is no evidence indicating the outcome we desire will come to pass?
Dare I say hope doesn’t just spring eternal, it finds its roots in an eternal place?
King Solomon wrote that God “has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, ESV).
I don’t understand everything about that verse (see the Extra Info below), but I get this part: God has set eternity in our hearts. This is why we cling to hope through trials and deaths. Somehow we know. We know that God has something better in store for us.
In our next few devotions together, we will explore hope: the expectation or wanting of something to happen, even a trust that it will happen.
Don’t ever doubt that God is working a hundred things out in your life. Because hope springs eternal.
What are you hoping for today?
Digging into God’s Word: Hope Springs Eternal
Sometimes hope is hard to come by. Yet we long to have hope! Notice how the psalmist reminds himself to remember the good things God has done and to put his hope in God. We can do that, too!
Psalm 42:1-8 (ESV)
1 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation 6 and my God.
My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
8 By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
Digging Deeper: Hope Springs Eternal
Treasure this time with the Lord. Reflect on or journal about the following questions, listening for what God has to say to you.
1. Is there an area of life in which your hope falters or in which you have lost hope? The psalmist’s approach is worth trying: Reflect on a more joyful time in your life, and remind yourself that you can have that joy again. Or remind yourself of a time when God fulfilled your hopes and expectations. He can fulfill your hopes again.
2. Hope, faith, and love are intricately knit together in scripture. How has God shown His love to you recently? Let hope flow from God’s love for you.
3. Let’s worship! The psalmist remembered, “I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise” (Psalm 42:4). See if one of these songs bolsters your hope:
Cornerstone (Hillsong. This is the contemporary version of My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less.)
My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less (hymn by Edward Mote)
You can find the printable score, an audio file, and full text to this hymn here. It’s a different tune than what I grew up with. Ah, you can find the score for the tune I grew up with here, but I cannot find an audio file.
Somewhere (Rich Mullins. You can see the full lyrics here. If you are a Rich Mullins fan, you are wondering why I didn’t choose “Hope to Carry On.” I cannot explain this. I just know I am supposed to put the link to “Somewhere” here. So here it is.)
“Hope springs eternal” in Alexander Pope’s poem is preceded by these first words in the stanza:
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar;
Wait the great teacher Death; and God adore!
What future bliss, he gives not thee to know,
But gives that hope to be thy blessing now.
I have to wonder if Pope was looking at Ecclesiastes 3 when he wrote that.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, ESV)
God doesn’t tell us everything about our future, nor do we understand the bliss we will experience in heaven; instead, our blessing for now is to have hope, including the hope of heaven that springs eternal.
Free Printable on Psalm 103!
In case I don’t get a separate email sent to my subscribers, I’ll just put this here for everyone:
We just finished a series on Leaving a Legacy, which focused on living out the characteristics that God models for us in Psalm 103. If you’d like a printable on What Psalm 103 Tells Us About God, click this link:
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