I confess that I have not had a wholehearted desire to study Scripture since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.
Oh, I nibble on verses every day, but I’ve shied away from the feast that used to fill my heart and soul.
This year, though, I’m committing to a more diligent approach-choosing to focus on one word per month and writing out corresponding verses. I am studying them, looking up cross-references, considering context and making personal application in my journal.
So the first word I chose was “Hope” because I think of all the things I’ve struggled most to hold onto in this life I didn’t choose, hope is the hardest.
In my flesh, I want to give up and give in.
If Heaven is my ultimate destination and I can’t control the future, why not just coast until the Lord calls me home? Why work so hard to live up to a high standard when grace covers it all? Why lift my head when head down or head up, I’m assured of eternal joy?
I’m just being honest here.
But I know, deep in my spirit, that this is not the purpose for which I was created. I was not made by a loving Father to plod hopelessly through this world. He breathed life into my soul so that I could fulfill His kingdom purpose in this place, at this time.
So I get back on the proverbial horse every time I’m tossed off and try again.
Here are just a couple of the verses that are speaking courage to me, helping me hold onto hope with both hands.
I hope they whet your appetite (as they have mine) for finding more.
O my soul, why are you so overwrought?
Why are you so disturbed?
Why can’t I just hope in God? Despite all my emotions, I will hope in God again.
I will believe and praise the One
who saves me and is my life,
My Savior and my God.
Psalm 43:5 VOICE
“Despite all my emotions” I will hope in God again. God created me with emotions. They are a gift (even though sometimes it doesn’t seem that way!). But I cannot be ruled by them.
Emotions are changeable.
Truth is not.
So I have to turn my heart by an act of will toward the truth that God is my Savior, He is my hope.
We live with hope in the Eternal. We wait for Him,
for He is our Divine Help and Impenetrable Shield.
Our hearts erupt with joy in Him
because we trust His holy name.
O Eternal, drench us with Your endless love,
even now as we wait for You.
Psalm 33: 20-22 VOICE
I love the phrase from Psalm 33:20 “our hearts erupt with joy”! This life is hard and joy is often a distant memory or a fleeting moment, but there will be a Day when my heart will be so full of joy-when every hard and hurtful thing is redeemed-that the joy will overflow like lava from a volcano.
No stopping it!
Now that’s something to hope for!
If your heart needs help leaning in and holding on, here’s a link to a month’s worth of short verses focused on hope: Think on These Things: Hope
Print it out and tuck it in a journal or your Bible. You can even look up the verses online and check out different translations. (Something I love to do because it often reveals things I might overlook!) Copy them out. It only takes a few minutes. Then underline the phrase or phrases that stand out to you.
Make them your own.
Hide the words in your heart.
Let the Word of God speak life and love to your soul.