But I had hoped.
You may have found yourself saying that little phrase a lot this year, “But I had hoped… we could gather for the holidays.
But I had hoped we could go visit them.
But I hoped she would’ve of made it out of this.
But I had hoped he wouldn’t have gotten sick.
But I had hoped our business would’ve survived this.
This phrase has become all too familiar to us in the midst of so many disillusionments and disappointments in 2020. I don’t know what you’re “But I had hoped… moment is for you.” but I pray you find encouragement through this reminder.
So I want to take us back to scripture to see what it says when we find ourselves in a place where our hope diminished. You can watch the video HERE on this topic.
We Aren’t the First to Ask this Question
Today I want to focus on the passage in Luke 24:21 when the disciples are walking down the Emmaus road after Jesus Christ is crucified.
First, you need to know what was going on before all this took place. Jesus Christ was just crucified. He had actually resurrected and either hadn’t heard or didn’t quite believe it yet. They were overwhelmed by their despair that their Savior was now dead. That their King whom they had been following was no longer with them.
So the disciples are walking down the Emmaus road feeling pretty confused and overwhelmed with all that had taken place. Then this stranger starts asking them what is going on. The disciples begin to recount the events that had taken place. And then we see this very phrase show up in verse 21:
“But we had hoped He was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” Do you hear the disappointment, grief, and confusion?
How often have we found ourselves in this place like the disciples? The reality is the disciples knew the truth. Jesus had been preparing them for this day since the beginning and here they are overwhelmed by the circumstances. They are stricken with grief and overwhelmed by their circumstances. Things had not quite unfolded as they had imagined.
There are so many more examples throughout Scripture. We see it in the Old Testament as the Israelites wander in the desert and they had hoped they would be in the promised land. Then there was Martha who cries out to Jesus, “But we had hoped you would’ve come earlier and kept Lazarus from dying.”
Let’s go back to the Emmaus Road. This stranger hears their concern and then He takes the disciples on a journey through the Word of God and basically says to them, “Remember!” He takes him back to the Word of God and reminds them of all that Scripture says about Jesus.
Well they continue walking and then they invite this stranger to dine with them and in that time of connecting with Him, spending time with him it all comes together and their eyes are opened to see that this stranger is Jesus. Their hope is revived!
When they are running low on hope and overwhelmed with confusion there are three things that stand out to me:
- They talk about what is happening to them.
- They go through God’s word to remember all that it says about Himself.
- They spend time in the presence of Jesus.
What helps them see Jesus? What revives their hope? Spending time in His Word and in His presence helps revive their hope. So much so they say, “Were not our hearts burning.”
Hope what is it?
Hope in the New Testament is “Elpizo” in greek which means to trust, to await with full confidence. This kind of confidence only comes from leaning into His truth and gazing on His presence.
It’s not wishful thinking or blind optimism. It’s standing confidently on His promises knowing that even though it doesn’t feel like this is going to be okay–God is with us. God doesn’t just offer “positive vibes or good thoughts” He offers himself. He is Hope in the flesh. He is Hope in us. Emmanuel means, “God with us.”
Friends He has not left us out to die. He has not forgotten us. He is in us, He goes before us and He is working through us.
But often we put our hope, trust, confidence on our expectations, what we dream of, want, wish for– instead of putting our hope, confidence, and trust in Christ. When we put it in Christ we are not put to shame.
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5 NIV)
When we put our hope in Christ we can be confident that He will do what He says He will do.
Running Low on Hope
Here’s the thing you can be a faithful follower of Christ and find yourself putting your hope on something other than Jesus. Or you can find yourself going through one hard thing after another and your hope begins to run low. But we don’t have to stay here. When the looming cloud of disappointment awaits in the morning don’t put it on instead, put on Christ. Ask Him for help.
If you can relate to hope running low, then can I encourage you to make time to be in His presence. When our hope is running low it’s easy to lose focus and begin to gaze on that which does not deliver.
My dear sisters in Christ, in His presence, is where we go to fill up on hope. In His presence, we are reminded of His faithfulness.
God is our Promise Keeper. Years ago His people experienced a 400 year period of silence but God kept His promise and a child was born — Emmanuel–God with us. He did then and He will continue to keep His promises. We can rest in this hope.
Where’s Your Focus
When we focus on all that is wrong in this world, all of our disappointments and our bad lot; we walk away feeling pretty lousy. We feel like we have been forgotten or even cheated out of something better and that’s exactly where the enemy wants you. He wants you to doubt all that God has told and focused on the bad just like the disciples on the Emmaus road. The disciples knew the truth but they had forgotten. They had chosen to focus on their dashed hopes and disappointments instead of the truth Jesus himself had told them about.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling disappointed and grieving what you had hoped for but we can’t stay there because the enemy is ready to turn it into bitterness.
So I leave you with these words from the prophet Jeremiah who remind us what to focus on. He finds himself in the midst of some tragic times, the destruction of the nation of Jerusalem. He laments this tragedy and then he says in Lamentations 3:21: Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope.
What does He call to mind–God’s truth. This is exactly what happened on the Emmaus road. Jesus helped the disciples in their despair by calling to mind Scripture–helping them remember.
After he says this we read the verse that for centuries God’s people have uttered with tears and with HOPE–Because of the lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning great is thy faithfulness.”
He remembers–God’s love. His compassion. His faithfulness.
May in this season of life we find comfort in His truth and His presence so we can be people of Hope pointing others to Him.
A light in the midst of the darkness.