Hope broke through more than two-thousand years ago in an unsuspecting manger hidden in the outskirts of Bethlehem. And still today, Christ is breaking through for people in unexpected and powerful ways. We can be a people of adamant hope because we serve a good God who always has our best interest at heart.
...I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11
It’s the beginning of a new year when we take a deep breath, plan out our goals, renew our gym memberships and reset the budget. It tends to be a time of optimism and zealous commitment making. But God wants to give us more than just a list of temporary goals, that let’s be honest, may only make it through the end of the month. God is interested in bigger things for us. He is interested in giving us hope for the horizon and a vision for our future that stretches far beyond our own natural capacity.
Vision for the future not only propels our hope into action but gives us much needed direction that we may have missed otherwise. God is eager to share his plans with us and to partner with him in this journey of life. He is not defined by our limitations or our lack of creativity and resources. He has an infinite supply of both and is willing to freely share with those who are interested in his interests.
Here are a few simple strategies to help stir up hope and retrieve fresh vision for the new year…
Shake It Off
Even when one door closes or the last turn we take seems like a dead end, nothing is lost, God can still use it. He is extremely creative when it comes to weaving all things for our good and his glory. Sometimes, the facts of a situation can be disappointing, but we are not called to submit to unbelief and negativity. We may need to do what Pastor Greg Haswell describes as, “shaking off the dust of unbelief” and determine in our minds that God is good and is the ultimate redeemer. So shake it off, reinvest your hope, and keep trusting him to help you even when circumstances are difficult.
Pray and Ask for Vision
The Lord is exceedingly generous and he is a rewarder of those who seek him. Sometimes, all this means is finding a quiet time to come before him in prayer and thanksgiving. Whether it’s through scripture, mental images, or simply listening for his voice, ask him about his plans for you. All throughout the Bible, we see that our God is a God who loves to speak in a variety of ways and he hasn’t changed. Be sure to keep a journal close at hand to write down revelation so you can continually revisit it when needed.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)
Anchor Yourself to Promise
Holding firm to the promises of God and refusing to let go are essential to maintaining your hope. Take some time to revisit the promises God has made and allow him to remind you of his faithfulness in the past. Anchor yourself to those promises when the waves of doubt feel all consuming and you will find a safe place to land.
Resilient hope is the distinguishing marker of someone who is trusting wholeheartedly in Jesus. It paves the way for us to see possibility, when before, we couldn’t see a way. Hope keeps us praying, keeps us moving, keeps us alive and headed towards new victory. Adamant hope whispers, don’t give up, it’s not over, I’m not through with you yet. There is more, there is better yet to come…
What we do with our time this year and the years to come, matters. Who we are becoming in the process of fulfilling our calling, matters. In fact, it has the potential to profoundly change lives and the effects of our actions can echo throughout eternity. This new year remember to keep hoping and seeking fresh vision, it’s on the horizon, just look up.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. (Hebrews 6:19)
Questions for Reflection:
What do you envision your life looking like this year? Better yet, what types of feelings tend to rise to the surface when you think about the year? Are you optimistic, unsure, apathetic, despondent, a mixture of any?
Do you envision open doors and possibility or take on a more despondent outlook when thinking about the year ahead?
Are there any areas of your heart that hope needs to be revived? Any areas where the dust of unbelief has settled? If so, why do you think that is?
What is the Holy Spirit speaking into your future for this season right now? What does he want you to stay focused on? What could be distracting you from that?
Listen in to Pastor Greg’s Sermon here.
Lord, stir up my hope again, speak truth to the unbelieving places of my heart and open my eyes to see all the good things you have destined for my future. Set my mind on your promises and help me to hold fast to truth when circumstances prove difficult. Thank you for speaking life into my future and giving me hope that is unfailing. Amen.