In this week's Church at Home Bible study, we will reflect on the meaning of biblical hope and what it means to hope during times of hopelessness.
As we all continue to endure the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s becoming more difficult to be optimistic that circumstances will change for the better anytime soon. Some communities may begin to return to a new normal, but it’s clear that life won’t be going back to the way it was for some time. These are challenging times to be an optimist.
But the biblical story invites us into a different way of seeing human history, from a vantage point of hope. In the Bible, hope is about waiting, not for circumstances to change but for God himself. God’s character and his promises to rescue and restore our world are the only things that endure from generation to generation. And so the only option we’re left with in times of uncertainty is to cultivate the difficult virtue of patient hope in God’s promises.
Listen to a short message from Tim on Hope. You can listen to this on your own or with a group. If you are leading a small group or family, feel free to listen to the message and contextualize it for your needs.
In the Psalms, David meditates on how, in times of distress and instability, God himself is the only source of hope and rest. Whatever people may be plotting against him, their plans are ultimately temporary and transient. In contrast, God is likened to an unshakable rock to whom David can call upon in his pain and anxiety. So David chooses to simply wait for God to answer with loyal love.
As you read Psalm 62, what brings you the most comfort?
In what ways do you resonate with the idea of being in the midst of chaos but finding rest in God? Take a moment to meditate on the idea of God as a refuge in the midst of chaos.
Sometimes our distress and anxiety is caused by tragic circumstances that bring loss or humiliation. It is hard not to blame God, or at least get frustrated at him. The poet here grieves over the fact that God has allowed such pain to enter his life, yet he doesn’t abandon hope. Rather, he chooses to wait patiently in anticipation for God to answer with loyal love. He trusts that God’s apparent absence is not permanent but temporary.
What are some different ways people define or understand hope? What do you think it means to hope?
Reflect on what it means to wait patiently even without evidence that things will get better. What would that look like practically?
Paul invites followers of Jesus to see their own suffering and hardship as one expression of the groaning of all creation over death and decay. But for Paul, the resurrection of Jesus as king of the new creation means that all creation will one day be freed and restored. It is only by patient waiting and endurance that this hope becomes life-giving as we wait for the redemption of all creation.
What stands out to you in this passage?
God’s past faithfulness motivates hope for the future. What has God done in the world or in your own life that helps you trust and hope in him now?
In what ways does the resurrection of Jesus provide hope for us?
Interested in learning more about Hope in the Bible? Visit our explore page on our "Advent Series."