After doing a word study, I discovered the word hope in the Scriptures, comes from the Hebrew word, tiqvah, and literally means, cord or rope, as an attachment. So, hope is the rope that attaches us to that which we desire with expectation of fulfillment (Merriam-webster.com). Maybe that’s why I struggle to cling to the rope of hope when life becomes messy. I’ve been attaching the rope to the wrong thing.
I’m not joking when I say there have been moments I’ve found my hands slipping from the rope of hope. I mean, seriously: spending five-minutes listening to the news, reading through social media or simply standing in the line at the store can cause the most hope-filled soul to lose their grip. Maybe that’s why I’ve been hesitant to put my thoughts onto paper; if I write them and proclaim ways to remain steadfast in hope does this mean I’m never allowed doubt or question again? I suppose that just seems silly. Who among us is free from ever doubting or offering up a question or two when hope clashes with what’s happening around us?
Solomon was incredibly wise when he warned us that, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12, NLT). Deferred as in withheld. I probably could be the poster child for this verse. Deferred payments on that loan might be convenient but when it comes to my hope being deferred, well, my grip slips. I know I shouldn’t attach my rope of hope to people – they have a way of disappointing and letting down, myself included. I also shouldn’t attach the rope to circumstances because just when I think I’ve got life figured out, change occurs. And goodness, attaching the rope to a president, the world, or religious leader leaves a sickness in my heart I can’t even describe when I perceive failure… of any kind. It’s just heartrending. I get it. I understand completely how easily the heart is bruised when hope is deferred. Maybe this is where I need to place a knot on the rope of hope and hold onto Romans 5:5 which says, “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (MEV). Hope does not disappoint – when we’ve attached the rope of hope to the heart of Who God is.
It’s taken me many years to understand the connection between attaching my hope to friends, circumstance, or world and religious leaders, and the downcast heart that arises and seeks to overtake me when all I’ve hoped for is only met with disappointment. However, expecting my desires to always be fulfilled in my time, and in my way, is unrealistic. This is why I need to attach myself to steadfast hope. It’s in these moments I must remind myself of David’s instruction to Saul when Goliath filled the Israelites with fear and hopelessness, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him” (1 Samuel 17:32). Regardless of what giant is standing before me, my hope needs to be attached to God, the God of hope, whom “fills you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13, ESV).
Steadfast hope is remaining encouraged and confident when life is messy and hard; it knows that regardless of what my eyes see in front of me, God is up to something inside of me. Holding onto the rope of hope in the midst of suffering is trusting God’s plan when I can’t trust my own. Oswald Chambers said, “Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.”
We’re all trying hard to hold onto the rope of hope for something, aren’t we? Especially now, after the horrible aftermath left by Hurricane Harvey, the wildfires which are consuming homes out west and news of Hurricane Irma barreling across the Atlantic. With our grip on the rope, we hope for…
Yes, we hope and hope and hope.
The Psalms reveal to us David’s heart of hope, when he found his grip slip on the rope of hope he wrote, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become restless and disturbed within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence” (Psalm 42:11, AMP).
Hopelessness is a consuming force, and it wants to have its way in our heart and mind, leading us into despair and the belief that all is lost. If that’s you, ask the Lord to reveal where, or to what, you’ve attached the rope of hope. Let go of misplaced hope and grab tightly onto the rope of hope that attaches to Christ. If hope is deferred, then learn to wait. As we seek to change our identity – one letter at a time – we must learn to confidently attach our rope of hope on the Lord.
“And now, Lord, for what do I expectantly wait? My hope [my confident expectation] is in You” (Psalm 39:7, AMP).
S-Steadfast in Hope