If I didn’t have hope, I couldn’t survive for two seconds. At one of the lowest points in my ministry, I dropped to my knees and started praying. The circumstances were so bad that I didn’t know what to do. But as I prayed, I suddenly had a strong awareness of the presence of God, and I felt peace. My circumstances didn’t change right at that moment, but I was able to walk away with hope that God was with me. I knew we were going to make it.

When you have hope, you have everything. Hope speaks of a confident expectation, not a wish we want to come true. If I tell you that I have hope in God, it means I have a confident expectation in Who God is and what He can do. On that day when I felt discouraged, I found hope — a confident expectation — in the knowledge that He was there when I needed Him the most.

You can be the wealthiest person in the world; but if you don’t have hope, you have nothing. You could be the most faithful person in your church; but if you don’t have hope, you will quickly get tired and give up. Hope is an important part of spirituality, and you can’t have a strong walk with God without it. Cause the spark to ignite (or re-ignite) by reading about and meditating on God’s character — an example of God’s character can be found in today’s verse about His presence. As you fill your mind with His own record of Who He is and what He can do, the flames of hope will begin to burn deeply inside your heart.

Before you can keep hope alive, you have to bring it to life. Why don’t you strike the original match?

Our hope is not hung upon such an untwisted thread as, “I imagine so,” or “It is likely,” but the cable, the strong tow of our fastened anchor, is the oath and promise of Him Who is eternal verity. Our salvation is fastened with God’s own hand, and with Christ’s own strength, to the strong stake of God’s unchangeable nature. — Samuel Rutherford

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder