What is Hope?

In my last post, Dazed and Confused, I wrote about some of the recent trials my hubby and I have been going through. At the end of the post, I talked about having hope.

I thought that I should write about what hope is and exactly in whom and/or what I have hope.

Webster’s Dictionary defines the noun “hope” as: A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.

“A desire of something good with the expectation or belief that it is obtainable” – I like that!

Hope is also defined as: Confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well founded expectation of good; as a hope founded on God’s gracious promises; a scriptural sense.

Hope is not passive. Hope “desires good”, “expects to obtain”, “has confidence”, and “brings pleasure or joy”.

A study of all the terms in the Bible that have been translated as the word “hope” give some interesting insights into the meaning of “hope”.

The following are some of the Hebrew terms: (from Strong’s Concordance)

tiqvâh: literally a cord (as an attachment); figuratively expectancy: – expectation

I find it interesting that the literal translation means a cord or attachment. Maybe that indicates that we should make sure that we are “tied firmly” to hope and expectation.

Psa 71:5 For You are my hope, O Lord God, my trust from my youth. 

 

miqveh ; something waited for, that is, confidence (objectively or subjectively); also a collection, that is, (of water) a pond, or (of men and horses) a caravan or drove: – abiding, gathering together, hope, linen yarn, plenty [of water], pool.

Notice the key words – wait, confidence, abide, plenty

I like to think that if I wait in confidence I shall abide in plenty, both materially and spiritually.

Jer 14:8 O the Hope of Israel, its Savior in time of trouble,…

 

yâchal; to wait; by implication to be patient, hope: – (cause to, have, make to) hope, be pained, stay, tarry, trust, wait.

For me, patience, trusting and waiting can be a real challenge!

Psa 31:24 Be strong, and He will make your heart stronger, all you who hope in Jehovah.

 

beṭach; properly a place of refuge; abstractly safety, both the fact (security) and the feeling (trust); often (adverbially with or without preposition) safely: – assurance, boldly, (without) care (-less), confidence, hope, safe (-ly, -ty), secure, surely

Living in hope provides refuge, safety, trust, assurance and confidence!

Psa 16:9 Therefore My heart is glad, and My glory rejoices; My flesh also shall rest in hope; 

 

In the New Testament, the term most often translated as “hope” is the Greek word elpis which means to anticipate, usually with pleasure; expectation; and confidence.

Rom 5:2 Through Him we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice on the hope of the glory of God.

 

To hope is to wait patiently with confidence, trust, assurance,  and pleasurable expectation of something good. I like the sound of that!

Blessings

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Dazed and Confused

“I’m dazed and confused, hanging on be a thread
I’m being abused, I’d be better off dead
I can’t stand this teasing, I’m starting to crack
You’re out to get me, you’re on the right track”

The above lyrics are from a blues-rock song in 1967, written and performed by Jake Holmes. The rock group Led Zeppelin re-did the song on their 1969 debut album.

While I don’t feel that I would be “better off dead”, I must confess to feeling somewhat “dazed and confused” myself lately.

This week I developed inflammation in both of the sacroiliac joints in my lower back. This has caused a literal “pain in the a**”! I am hobbling around like an old lady and groaning like an arthritic hound dog. Hot and cold flashes are my companions as I alternate between ice packs and heating pads. Anti-inflammatories and muscles relaxants induce a definite couch potato demeanor. And my new fashion accessory is a supportive, magnetic back brace – which looks ever so elegant with my ankle socks and bathrobe!

This literal pain in the butt has caused me to miss: leading one ladies’ fellowship and participating in another, cancel my son and family’s visit (which was to be our Christmas visit), and give up a shift at work at a time when we really need the extra money!

This is on top of having to deal with increased fatigue, lethargy, depression and anxiety due to the change in seasons and my suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

AND THEN – my poor, sweet hubby has been suffering from a migraine for the past three days! He has used up his allotment of medication and can’t get a renewal for at least 2 weeks!

He has had so many migraines this year that he has used up all his sick days and vacation time so that when he has to take a sick day now, he is losing a day’s pay. This is not nice at any time of year but especially not at Christmas.

So – yes, I am feeling “dazed and confused, abused and hanging by a thread” at times.

When I am feeling like that, I turn to the only place and person that I know to turn to – my Heavenly Father. While I absolutely believe that He does not send me these trials, I confess to wondering why I have to keep going through them and why deliverance and healing do not seem to be forthcoming.

Like David in the Psalms, I pour out my questions, my fears and my frustrations to God.

“O Lord, all my longing is known to you; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart throbs, my strength fails me; as for the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.” ~Psalm 38:9-10 (NRSV).

Psa 69:1 To the Chief Musician. Concerning the Lilies. A Psalm of David. Save me, O God! for the waters have come in on my soul.
Psa 69:2 I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
Psa 69:3 I am weary from my crying; my throat is dried; my eyes fail while I wait for my God.

I beseech, entreat and implore Him to help us.

Psa 118:25 Save now, I beseech You, O Jehovah; O Jehovah, I beseech You,…

I remind Him of His promises.

2Co 1:20 For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God by us. 

And then I purposefully take stock of all the blessings that I do have and I thank God for them. I also purposefully look to see little blessings in every day – like the handsome bluejay at the bird feeder yesterday and the cute red-breasted nuthatch today. Or the unusually mild temperatures we have been enjoying this November along with the mellow, golden sunlight.

Php 4:8 Finally, my brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think on these things.

I also try to be grateful for the peace and quiet that is my environment and be thankful that I don’t really have anyone making any pressing demands on my limited energies.

Php 4:7 And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

In the end, the truth of it is that when the struggles of this life make me feel dazed and confused, there is only one place to which I can turn – Heaven, and only one person to whom I can turn – God – in the name of His son, Jesus Christ. Without them, where would there be any hope?

Psa 118:14 Jehovah is my strength and song, and He is my salvation.

2Th 2:16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, who has loved us and has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
2Th 2:17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work…

Blessings

“Ma Ee”

When I was a young nurse working in a nursing home, I had an elderly Scottish gentleman for a patient. One shift he became somewhat agitated and when I asked him what was wrong he said, “It’s ‘ma ee’; there is something wrong with ‘ma ee'”. I was not used to a thick Scottish accent and so I thought that he was telling me that there was something wrong with his ear. He got frustrated with me and finally pointed to his eye while loudly explaining “ma ee – ma ee!” Bing – my light bulb went on and I realized that he was saying, “there is something wrong with my eye”! LOL

Well, there has been something wrong with “ma ees” too, ever since I was young.

When I was a toddler, my father, who suffered from frequent bouts of cold sores, ended up passing the virus, herpes simplex, on to me while he was cuddling me. The virus took up residence in my eyes and I ended up with ulcerated corneas.

I remember being very young and going in for surgery to cauterize (burn off) the ulcers. I can still remember the smell of the rubber mask they put on me for the gas to put me to sleep. I had a patch on my eye and I wasn’t supposed to let any light in. I ended up with a nasty, itchy reaction on my face due to the surgical tape.

Another time, I woke up from a nap with pools of blood in my eyes from blood vessels that had burst for some reason. I remember a horrible episode in the emergency room while nurses held down my arms and legs while they cauterized the blood vessels – without anesthetic!

I continued to have bouts of herpes simplex infections in my eyes requiring lots of eye drops – ooh sting! And there were a few visits to the opthalmologist where my eye would be “frozen” and then a liquid would be used to remove the ulcers.

The subsequent result was that I developed scar tissue on my cornea, over the lens, which caused some vision loss.

I remember the opthalmologist commenting that if I had continued to have frequent infections, I may have become blind in that eye by the time I turned 18. That was NOT good news.

When I was 16, I suddenly developed a different type of infection called iritis, which is an inflammation in iris muscles of the eye. My vision in that eye turned milky white and my pupil took on a figure 8 shape. A subsequent bout of iritis has caused permanent damage to the iris so it does not allow the pupil to respond to light properly.

I tell you all this so that you will understand why I value my eyesight so much!

I love being outdoors. I love the beauty of God’s creation. I love to paint and do handicrafts. I love photography. I love to read. I love to go for country drives. And I love to look at the faces of my loved ones. All of these things depend on vision and that is why I am so glad that I can still see.

I often thank God for my eyesight. I feel closest to God when I am looking at His creation. I have been mightily blessed by the beauty I have seen. Sometimes, it has taken my breath away in amazement; other times, it has made me weep with joy.

This morning, as I was driving my hubby to work, the sun was rising and glowing through the low-lying mist. Shafts of golden light burst through. The trees were in silhouette against a misty golden backdrop. The green winter wheat was covered with a carpet of glistening diamonds. It was both awe inspiring and peaceful at the same time.

And I once again thanked my Heavenly Father for my eyesight.

Take some time to look at the beauty around you and then remember to thank God that you can see it.

Blessings

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