March 22, 2024

Joy Comes In the Morning: Why It’s Important for Pastors to Teach on Hope in the Face of Adversity

In today’s blog, we share why it’s important to remain hopeful as followers of God, and five verses on hope that you can teach on to empower the congregation. 

Noah Cecil

The world can often feel overwhelming, but something we gain from following Jesus is a sense of hope.

While we can never be certain of what tomorrow brings, be in control of those around us, or dictate the state of the world –– there’s peace in knowing that we can always turn to God and His Word to show us how to overcome the stressors of life. In following God, we not only put our trust in Him and learn to find joy in the face of adversity, but we also learn how to be a light in the darkness. Through being the light of the world, we have the opportunity to bring positive change to those around us, ultimately glorifying God in the way we exemplify His Kingdom on earth. 

In today’s blog, I will be going over why it’s important to remain hopeful as followers of God, and five verses on hope that you can teach on to empower the congregation. 

Hope Is Foundational to Our Faith

Hope is a common thread that drives our faith and has been a throughline of the Bible, from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Hope has allowed God’s people to endure hardships from the rule of Pharaoh's enslavement, the dominion of Babylon, and the persecution of Nero. It’s our trust in God that drives our hope; trusting that God is ultimately in control, that He has a purpose for us, that we’ll join Him in heaven.

 Although, while having hope is a principle of our faith, we can easily lose sight of this.

Don’t Lose Heart, God Is With Us

The other day I listened to my mom and my brother’s father-in-law discuss politics in the aftermath of Super Tuesday and the president’s State of the Union address. The conversation consisted of a lot of hearsay, hypotheticals, and what-ifs about candidates, policies, and forecasts of the future. When it comes to my family, these conversations tend to have the same, gloomy conclusion: America’s done for.

We as people have a natural habit of putting our hope into things of the world, leaning on our own understanding that these things will bring us a sense of peace. In eulogizing America and lamenting over the state of politics, it’s easy to feel like the world is spinning out of control –– leaving us with a sense of cynicism and defeat. Of course this loss of hope isn’t specific to politics, but a mere example of the many things (outside of God) that we put our hope into; finding ourselves falling into pessimism and despair when things don’t pan out the way we want them to. 

When we feel this way, Alicia Bruxvorrt of the organization Proverbs 31 Ministries says:

“God’s Word reminds us that even when our circumstances sway, Christ’s love remains the same. (Romans 8:38-39) Though our faith may waver, His faithfulness won’t. Hope flourishes when we shift our gaze from the darkness that surrounds us to the Love that encircles us. And there, in the certainty of His love, we find peace for the present and strength for the days to come.”

It’s important to recognize that it’s okay to have optimism, to believe that things will/can work out for the better. However it’s also important to remember that even when things aren’t looking great, not to lose hope in what God is doing.

Marianella Arias, of career coaching source RethinkWork, puts this in the perspective of what the disciples went through after the crucifixion of Jesus:

“Everyone thought that this was the end. They thought that Jesus had lost and that God had forsaken [H]im. But in the darkest hour, God accomplished [H]is greatest work. Jesus returned from the grave, and [H]e brought us salvation. From the darkest hour, God delivered us from death. Even when it seemed like all hope was lost, God had a plan.”

At the end of the day, it’s important for us as believers to put our hope into God and believe that He knows what’s best. It’s important to reflect on the great point that Arias makes, asserting that:

“Jesus told us that "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33). Even followers of Christ will face suffering and hardship. [...] Having faith doesn't mean we won't lose things. But it does mean that we don't have to despair. No matter how bad the trouble gets, we can still go to sleep at night with the knowledge that Jesus has not forsaken us.” 

Five Bible Verses About Hope That Pastors Can Teach On 

As we can see, it’s important to be reminded of God’s hope when the days seem dark. Pastors have the opportunity to remind the congregation of this hope, empowering them through God’s Word.

 Here are five verses on hope that pastors can teach on:

  1. 1 Peter 1:3-6: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
  2. Romans 15:13: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
  3. Jeremiah 29:11: "’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.’"
  4. Psalm 42:5: "Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."
  5.  2 Corinthians 4:16-18: “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

These verses serve as powerful reminders of the enduring hope found in God and His promises, providing comfort, encouragement, and strength to believers in every season of life.

A Helpful Tool For Crafting A Powerful Message on Hope

Of course the Bible has plenty of other verses, even stories, and characters that we can learn an important message of God’s hope from. While there’s plenty to choose from, there are also helpful online tools available to make the most of conveying a message on hope.

With the assistance of sermon preparation tools, pastors now have an easy way of generating effective sermon outlines, prompting verses and Bible stories on the topic of hope, creating character studies and even coming up with modern-day examples of Biblical stories. 

Turn From Despair, Look Toward God

The world may often seem dark, feeling as though it’s in a constant state of chaos. As the world has always been imperfect, it might seem unpredictable as technology, society, and even politics evolve over time. No matter what, we serve a God who remains the same. We can turn to Him for strength, peace, and of course hope. No matter what troubles we face, it’s important for pastors to remind the congregation of the hope we have in God.  

From God’s Word, we can have peace in remembering what Psalm 30:5 tells us: “[...] weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

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