Lesson 16—God Can Renew My Hope
One day I bent to pick up a penny, planning to make a wish on it. My friend grabbed my hand and said, “No! It’s face down. That means it’s unlucky!”
What? Leave a perfectly good penny just sitting there on the street for some other unsuspecting person to pick up and receive bad luck? Couldn’t do it.
So I changed the rules. A penny face up meant I could pick it up and make a wish for myself. A penny face down meant I could pick it up and make a wish for someone else. Even better, let’s make it a prayer instead of a wish. As long as I’m getting all that exercise bending over and picking up the penny, I might as well make it really worth the effort.
Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:45).
Christians “hope in God.” Hope is not the same as “to wish.” The biblical definition of hope in God is the full assurance of something expected, based upon God’s character and promises.
the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time (Titus 1:2; see also Hebrews 6:11, Hebrews 10:22, Hebrews 11:1, Romans 15:5).
In essence, hope in God is reliance on what God says because we know His character and trust who He is. Elizabeth never lost her trust in God. She believed His promises. When the angel told Zechariah she would have a son, Elizabeth had hope. She had full assurance based on God’s character and promises.
Sometimes circumstances get us down, make us feel like we are running in place. Elizabeth’s life can remind us that, no matter what else happens in our lives, Christ can renew our hope when we look to Him. We can forget crossing our fingers or wishing on a penny. Renewed hope can give us courage and joy to run the distance, knowing God’s character and promises, both of which are trustworthy. Always.
Scripture never tells us Elizabeth ever lost her hope in God. Rather, Scripture tells us that Elizabeth was righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But being a woman without children in ancient Israel made Elizabeth feel disgraced. Having children was an outward indication in Jewish society of God’s love. To not have the blessing of children might have made Elizabeth feel as if she was not worthy of God’s love. It didn’t stop her from loving and obeying Him. But she would have felt overwhelmed by His love when He did finally give her a child.
Elizabeth loved God and believed His promises. She knew His character and didn’t doubt Him. Before the angel came to Zechariah, Elizabeth resigned herself to never having a child. She accepted it as God’s will and—although disappointed—simply moved forward trusting God’s plan.
Being part of the priestly line, Elizabeth was familiar with Scripture. She knew—possibly held closely to—some of the following verses:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off (Proverbs 23:18).
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God (Psalm 42:5).
But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).
The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love (Psalm 147:11).
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge (Psalm 62:5-8).
These verses remind us that sometimes life and circumstances get us down. Sometimes we feel like we are treading water or running in place, getting nowhere. They remind us that, no matter what else happens in our lives, we can still have hope in God. And God can renew our hope—our full assurance—when we look to Him, to His goodness, to His promises. A renewal of hope gives us courage and joy to run the distance; to no longer tread water or run in place but to move forward in life.
If Elizabeth were here she would say this was her story. God had renewed her hope.
Who are we to God? When we let God renew our hope by relying on His promises, His character and His power, we understand how God might see His women of faith. We can respond:
I am like Elizabeth.
For Thought and Discussion
- Has there been a time when you felt like you were getting nowhere spiritually? What happened? How did you begin to move forward again?
- List some of God’s character traits and promises. How might focusing on those help you now?
- What verse from Scripture might you lean on to help you focus on hope as a full assurance of God’s character and promises?
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank you so much for who you are. Please help us focus on your character when we feel hopeless. Help us remember that you are trustworthy and can renew our hope when we lean into you. Amen.