How to Hope

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The reassuring news arrived unexpectedly, and my discouraged and thirsty soul soaked it up like a sponge. “Thanks, Lord, for that hopeful word,” I prayed simply. “Would You grant me more encouragement?

As softly and gently as a whisper, I heard His voice, “I am the God of Encouragement. You should pray for this more often. This is a prayer I am always willing to grant.

Shocked, I couldn’t remember ever asking the Father to encourage me. I wanted it. I hoped for it. And sometimes, I expected it. But, ask for it? It wasn’t even on my radar. Was this something I could ask from a Holy God? 

I went to His Word to find out. Within minutes, I found the answer in black and white: “the God who gives…encouragement” (Romans 15:5) and “the God of all encouragement” (2 Corinthians 1:3 Darby translation). Astounded, I found that “comfort” and “encouragement” come from the same Greek word: paraklēsis.

Not only is He the God of encouragement through the Paraklētos (Spirit of Comfort), but He has also penned an entire Book for our refreshment. “Whatever was written before, was written for our instruction, so that … through the encouragement of the Scriptures we may have hope” (Romans 15:4). If we read the Bible with guilt or hopelessness, it’s obvious we don’t know the heart of the Author. 

His Grace-giving Word builds up, not tears down (Acts 20:32). Why would He command us to encourage one another and not do so Himself? (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Ask Him to reveal His heart of comfort to you. It’s a prayer He will most surely answer, often in unexpected ways.

God refreshes us to stimulate others (2 Corinthians 1:4). Like the manna that spoiled when kept overnight (Exodus 16:19-20), we can’t stockpile hope. We must share encouragement. Once He motivates you, you must give it away to make room for more.

Is your love language “words of affirmation”? Do you need encouragement daily?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, ask Him to encourage you. Begin each morning by asking for His consolation. Then fall asleep each night, remembering just how He answered. This is a prayer He will most certainly answer.

“Father, I desperately need encouragement. Since You are the God of all comfort and consolation, I ask that You increase my hope today in a very definite way. Open my eyes to watch for it so I can recognize Your perfect gift, whether it comes as inspiration or incentive, confidence or consolation. I wait now upon You.”