Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Importance of Remembering in Maintaining Hope

Image result for john piippo hope
(Redeemer sanctuary)

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, 
for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:23


Hope is: the mood of expectation that comes from a promise that something good is going to happen.

When I hope, I expect. "Expectation" is the mood that characterizes hope. Hope is expectation, based on a promise that has been given. 


It seems that every day Linda and I meet someone who has lost hope. Loss of hope produces stagnancy and passivity. And depression. The loss of hope threatens life.

How important is hope? Lewis Smedes writes:

“There is nothing more important in this whole world than keeping hope alive in the human spirit. I am convinced that hope is so close to the core of all that makes us human that when we lose hope we lose something of our very selves. And in the process we lose all reason for striving for the better life we were meant to live, the better world that was meant to be. Let me put it as baldly as I can: there is nothing, repeat nothing, more critical for any one of us, young or old or anywhere in between, than the vitality of our hope.”  (Smedes, Keeping Hope Alive: For a Tomorrow We Cannot Control, p. 6)

Real hope leads to activity, because it is attached to a promise that fuels the sense of expectation. the hope-filled, expectant person prepares now for the promised, coming event.


A husband and wife are said to be "expecting" when she is pregnant with their inborn child. The reality of this hope is seen in their active preparation for the promised one to arrive. They create a space in their home for the newborn to dwell. They buy clothes and toys, they think and dream and pray. Hope, grounded in a promise, is joy-filled.

Hope is differentiated from "wishing." "Wishing" is not attached to a promise, and hence is devoid of the sense of expectation. The wishing person is inactive. The person who wishes to win the gazillion-dollar lottery does not quit his job and sell his house. When no real promise is given, passivity reigns.


How can we overcome hopelessness and begin to hope again? One way I return to hoping is: I remember.

"Remembering " plays a role in "hoping." My spiritual journal, which is a record of God's activity in my life, helps me to remember. My journal includes God's promises to me, and promises realized. I have many stories where things looked hopeless, and then life returned. When I re-read and re-meditate on my journals I am filled with hope. I remember the deeds of the Lord in my life. I come to know God, in whom I have placed my trust, and makes good on his promises. I am then in a very good spiritual place. It affects how I look at the unseen future. I see that "he who promised is faithful."

I am intentional about remembering. This includes carrying lists of God's blessings to me, and looking at them often. I have found that a hoping person...


·                remembers the deeds of God in their life


·                remembers God-promises given, and God-promises fulfilled


·                makes God their trust today, and each day


·                dwells on the promises of God in Scripture


·                listens for God's voice, and his promises 


·                is expectant


·                is active, since real hope always leads to present vitality

I encourage a hopeless person to list and thereby remember the deeds of the Lord in their life. I have seen this result in a refocusing and re-membering of the person, as the pieces of their heart are put together again.

(Note: another antidote for hopelessness is connectedness to the Jesus-community. Hopelessness isolates people. Be intentional about being part of a small group. Be intentional about gathering with others on Sunday mornings. Many times I have come on a Sunday morning, holding on to some fear in my heart, only to find it lifting and removed as we meet with the Lord together.)