“Hope in Jehovah.”—PS. 27:14.
SONG 144 Keep Your Eyes on the Prize!
1. What hope has Jehovah given us?
JEHOVAH has given us the marvelous hope of everlasting life. Some hope to live forever in heaven as immortal spirit creatures. (1 Cor. 15:50, 53) Most, though, hope to live forever on earth in perfect health and happiness. (Rev. 21:3, 4) Whether we look forward to everlasting life in heaven or on earth, our hope is precious to us.
2. On what is our hope based, and why can we say that?
2 The word “hope,” as used in the Bible, can be defined as “the expectation that good things will happen.” Our hope for the future is guaranteed because it comes from Jehovah. (Rom. 15:13) We know what he has promised, and we know that he always keeps his word. (Num. 23:19) We are convinced that Jehovah has both the desire and the power to accomplish everything that he says he will do. Our hope, therefore, is not based on fantasy or wishful thinking; it is based on evidence and reality.
3. What will we discuss in this article? (Psalm 27:14)
3 Our heavenly Father loves us, and he wants us to trust in him. (Read Psalm 27:14.) When our hope in Jehovah is strong, we will be able to endure trials and face the future with courage and joy. Let us consider how our hope protects us. To that end, we will first review how hope is both like an anchor and like a helmet. Then we will discuss how we can strengthen our hope.
OUR HOPE IS LIKE AN ANCHOR
4. How is hope like an anchor? (Hebrews 6:19)
4 In his letter to the Hebrews, the apostle Paul likened our hope to an anchor. (Read Hebrews 6:19.) He often traveled by sea, so Paul knew that anchors are used to keep a ship from drifting. On one occasion, he was a passenger on a ship when a violent storm came up. During that storm, he saw sailors cast anchors into the water to prevent the ship from being blown onto dangerous rocks. (Acts 27:29, 39-41) As an anchor stabilizes a ship, our hope stabilizes us so that we do not drift away from Jehovah when we face turbulent times. Our firm hope helps us to ride out stormy trials because we are convinced that calmer times lie just ahead. Remember, Jesus warned that we would be persecuted. (John 15:20) So meditating on our promised future reward allows us to keep steady on our Christian course.
5. How did hope sustain Jesus when he was faced with death?
5 Consider how hope kept Jesus steadfast despite the cruel death that awaited him. On the day of Pentecost 33 C.E., the apostle Peter quoted a prophecy from the book of Psalms that beautifully expresses Jesus’ calm assurance: “I will reside in hope; because you will not leave me in the Grave, nor will you allow your loyal one to see corruption. . . . You will fill me with great joy in your presence.” (Acts 2:25-28; Ps. 16:8-11) Although Jesus knew that he would die, he had the firm hope that God would resurrect him and that he would have the joy of being reunited with his Father in heaven.—Heb. 12:2, 3.
6. What did one brother say about hope?
6 Our Christian hope has helped many of our brothers and sisters to endure. Consider the example of Leonard Chinn, a faithful brother who lived in England. During the First World War, he was imprisoned because he refused to join the military. For two months he was kept in solitary confinement, followed by a period of hard labor. “My experiences,” he later wrote, “impressed on me the value of hope to enable us to endure. We have the examples of Jesus, the apostles, and the prophets, and we have the precious promises in the Bible. All of this gives us great hope for the future and fortifies us to endure.” Hope was an anchor for Leonard, and it can be an anchor for us too.
7 Our hope gets stronger after we endure trials and experience Jehovah’s help and approval. (Read Romans 5:3-5; James 1:12.) We thus possess a hope that is stronger than when we first accepted the good news. Satan wants our trials to overwhelm us, but with Jehovah’s help we can meet each one successfully.
OUR HOPE IS LIKE A HELMET
8. How is hope like a helmet? (1 Thessalonians 5:8)
8 The Bible also compares our hope to a helmet. (Read 1 Thessalonians 5:8.) A soldier wears a helmet to protect his head from the blows his enemies try to inflict on him. In our spiritual warfare, we need to protect our mind from Satan’s attacks. He bombards us with temptations and ideas designed to corrupt our thinking. Just as the helmet protects a soldier’s head, our hope protects our thinking so that we can remain faithful to Jehovah.
9. What is the outcome when people have no hope?
9 Our hope of everlasting life will help us to act with wisdom and discernment. On the other hand, if our hope weakens and we allow fleshly thinking to take hold of our mind, we can lose sight of the goal of everlasting life. Consider the case of some Christians living in ancient Corinth. They lost faith in a key promise of God—the hope of the resurrection. (1 Cor. 15:12) Paul argued that people with no hope of a future life live only for the present. (1 Cor. 15:32) Today many who have no hope in God’s promises live for the moment, grasping whatever pleasures are available to them. We, however, put our trust in the future promised by God. Our hope acts as a figurative helmet that protects our thinking and safeguards us from choosing a self-indulgent lifestyle, which would spoil our relationship with Jehovah.—1 Cor. 15:33, 34.
10. How can hope protect us against false reasoning?
10 Our helmet of hope can also protect us from thinking that there is no point in even trying to please Jehovah. For example, some might reason: ‘I will never be among those who live forever. I am just not good enough. I will never be able to measure up to God’s standards.’ Recall that Job’s false comforter Eliphaz used similar reasoning with Job. Eliphaz said: “What is mortal man that he should be pure?” Further, he said of God: “Look! He has no faith in his holy ones, and even the heavens are not pure in his eyes.” (Job 15:14, 15) What lies! Remember who is behind such thinking—Satan. He knows that if you allow yourself to dwell on such thoughts, your hope will fade. Instead, reject such lies and focus on Jehovah’s promises. Never doubt that he wants you to live forever and that he will help you to reach that goal.—1 Tim. 2:3, 4.
KEEP YOUR HOPE STRONG
11. Why should we be patient as we wait for our hope to be fulfilled?
11 It is not always easy to keep our hope strong. We might become impatient while we wait on God. However, Jehovah is eternal, and his view of time is different from ours. (2 Pet. 3:8, 9) He will work out his purpose in the best way possible, but he may not act when we expect him to. What can help us to keep our hope strong as we wait patiently for God to fulfill his promises?—Jas. 5:7, 8.
12 We will keep our hope strong if we remain close to Jehovah, the one who guarantees our hope. In fact, the Bible closely links hope to faith that Jehovah exists and that he is “the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” (Read Hebrews 11:1, 6.) The more real Jehovah is to us, the greater our confidence will be that he will do all that he has promised. Let us consider practical ways to deepen our relationship with Jehovah and thus keep our hope strong.
13. How can we draw close to God?
13 Pray to Jehovah, and read his Word. Though we cannot see Jehovah, we can draw close to him. We can speak to him in prayer, confident that he will listen to us. (Jer. 29:11, 12) We can listen to God by reading his Word and meditating on it. As we read about how Jehovah cared for those who were loyal to him in the past, our hope will grow ever stronger. Everything in God’s Word was “written for our instruction, so that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope.”—Rom. 15:4.
14. Why reflect on what Jehovah has done for others?
14 Meditate on how Jehovah has kept his promises. Consider what God did for Abraham and Sarah. They reached the age when they could not have children. Yet, God promised them that they would have a child. (Gen. 18:10) How did Abraham react? The Bible says: “He had faith that he would become the father of many nations.” (Rom. 4:18) Even though from a human perspective the situation appeared hopeless, Abraham was confident that Jehovah would fulfill His promise. That faithful man was not disappointed. (Rom. 4:19-21) Such accounts teach us that we can always rely on Jehovah to fulfill his promises, no matter how impossible the situation may seem to us.
15. Why should we reflect on what God has done for us?
15 Consider what Jehovah has done for you. Think about how you have already benefited personally from the fulfillment of the promises contained in God’s Word. For example, Jesus has promised that his Father will provide you with the necessities of life. (Matt. 6:32, 33) Jesus has also assured you that Jehovah will give you holy spirit when you ask for it. (Luke 11:13) Jehovah has kept those promises. Likely, you can think of other promises that he has kept in your behalf. For instance, he promises to forgive you, to comfort you, and to feed you spiritually. (Matt. 6:14; 24:45; 2 Cor. 1:3) When you meditate on what God has done for you already, you will strengthen your hope in what he will do for you in the future.
REJOICE IN THE HOPE
16. Why is hope such a precious gift?
16 Our hope of everlasting life is a precious gift from God. We look forward to a wonderful future—one that we can be certain will happen. It acts as our anchor, stabilizing us so that we can endure trials, withstand persecution, and even face death. It acts as our helmet, protecting our thinking so that we can reject what is wrong and cling to what is right. Our Bible-based hope draws us closer to God and reveals the depth of his love for us. We benefit greatly as we keep our hope bright and strong.
17. Why does our hope lead to rejoicing?
17 “Rejoice in the hope,” encouraged the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans. (Rom. 12:12) Paul could rejoice because he was sure that if he remained faithful, he would gain everlasting life in heaven. We too can rejoice in our hope because we are certain that Jehovah will keep his promises. As the psalmist wrote, “happy is the one . . . whose hope is in Jehovah his God, . . . the One who always remains faithful.”—Ps. 146:5, 6.
SONG 139 See Yourself When All Is New
a Jehovah has given us a wonderful hope for the future. That hope brightens our life and helps us see beyond present trials. It empowers us to remain faithful no matter what difficulties we face. And it can protect us from falling prey to ideas that could corrupt our thinking. As we will learn in this article, these are all good reasons for keeping our Christian hope strong.
b PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Just as a helmet protects a soldier’s head and an anchor steadies a ship, our hope protects our thinking and stabilizes us during trials. A sister prays confidently to Jehovah. A brother meditates on how God kept His promises to Abraham. Another brother reflects on how he has been blessed.