A pastor once said, “There is nothing worse than wanting something badly, getting it, and finding that it is empty.” This may be true of anything — people, places, things, or events. All false hopes are like that. They will only let us down.

Thankfully, hope that is based on God will never disappoint us. Yesterday, I mentioned how Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for God to provide a son for them. I’m sure they would say it was worth every minute of their wait, but there’s so much more to their story. Looking at it a little bit closer, we find that besides the power of God at work, there is another pillar for hope: God’s grace.

God’s unmerited favor is seen as He constantly reminded Abraham that he was heading in the right direction once he began his journey of faith. God didn’t have to do that. Abraham didn’t do anything to deserve this special encouragement. That’s grace.

God’s grace can also be seen in the great blessings He provided Abraham on his journey (Genesis 13:2). Even though Abraham was a tent-dweller, God allowed him to become very rich as he followed Him in obedience (and sometimes even in disobedience). He gave him over and above what he deserved and needed. That’s grace.

One thing is certain for anyone who follows the Lord: God’s grace makes everything the Christian faces along the journey from start to finish worthwhile. Yes, we are comforted by His presence, and our faith is strengthened by His power. But we could never make it without His grace. We can put our hope here, and it will be safe.

Do you want to keep your hope alive? Then study the stories of Bible characters such as Abraham, David, Daniel, Jonah, Peter, and the Apostle Paul. Reading about God’s grace in their lives will give you a fresh dose of hope to face the challenges of living out your faith each day.

God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame. — Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder