It was around this time, seven years ago, that I found myself in the midst of an agonizingly hopeless season. It was the two year anniversary of when my infertility journey began. I remember sitting across a restaurant table from my husband, discussing my thoughts on the new year and grieving the absence of the child we so desperately wanted. But, I shared with him that I had chosen a theme for the new year—the theme of hope. This theme encompassed my hopeful desire to become a mother, along with focusing on Christ as my hope. My struggle throughout this difficult season was when those two hopes would get out of alignment.
It’s always right to bring our desires before God; He actually tells us to do so (Psalm 62:8 and others). And it’s natural to hope God will fulfill our desires. However, I had to balance the tension between putting my ultimate hope in Christ and putting it in what He could do for me. Because my hope-alignment needed constant correction, there were a few disciplines I had to practice to navigate this tension...
3 Disciplines of Hope
I practiced choosing to place my hope in Christ alone instead of hoping He would change my circumstances. For me this wasn’t a one-time choice. I had to choose daily, sometimes hourly, to place my hope in Christ instead of hoping my circumstances would turn out how I wanted them to.
I practiced comprehending the biblical meaning of this hope I was choosing. Upon examination, I found that “biblical hope looks to God’s character alone as a basis for trusting that the future will be better than the present.” (The Bible Project) This true hope is based on a person (Jesus) and not focused on circumstances.
“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:7)
I read something that helped me in comprehending: “Biblical hope is a choice to wait for God to bring about a future that’s as surprising as a crucified man rising from the dead. Christian hope looks back to the risen Jesus in order to look forward.” (The Bible Project)
“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” (Psalm 130:5-7)
I practiced clinging to the Scriptures that spoke to the hope I was choosing. I read them over and over, prayed them, wrote them down, placed verses in prominent places where I would see them, and memorized them. A few significant Scriptures were: Hebrews 6:19, Hebrews 10:23, Romans 12:12, and Romans 15:13. One of my very favorites was Romans 5:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
I can’t help but wonder, is something competing for the position of ultimate hope in your life?
These practices can be applied to any circumstance competing for God’s place as your ultimate hope. In fact, practicing the disciplines of choosing hope, comprehending hope, and clinging to hope are just as important in times of ideal circumstances because “hope is crucial for healthy human existence.” (The Bible Project)
What has helped you to hang onto God (His character) as your true source of hope vs. what He could do for you?
Meet the Author!
Northwest Oklahoma City native, Sara Crawford, is a wife and mother to 5-year-old twins, Grady & Wren. She spends her time bringing order to chaos but not without intermittently breaking to unleash her creative side. She can most likely be found working out with the regulars at her local YMCA, volunteering at her kiddos' school, serving on the CRBC worship team, or vacationing at Target. She and her husband, Tom, have been married for 12 years and have been active CRBC members for 11 years.