Where’s Your Hope? (Part 2)

May 11, 2016

Ernie Baker

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Ernie Baker

BCC Staff: This post continues the topic from Dr. Baker’s last post. On Monday he focused on the nature of true hope. Today he helps us with diagnostic questions that put a spotlight on the true and false hopes counselees might bring with them into our offices.

The Hebrew word, qawa, presupposes that humans expect things. Here is a Puritan prayer that captures this dynamic well and reinforces the profundity of biblical insight into human nature:

Remember , O, my soul, It is thy duty and privilege to rejoice in God….Rejoice then in the Giver and his goodness. Be happy in him, O my heart….for whatever a man trusts in, from that he expects happiness [emphasis added]. He who is the ground of thy faith should be the substance of thy joy.[i]

In other words, whatever I am trying to find happiness, contentment, or security in is the object of my hope. Whatever I expect to fulfill my needs is the target of my affections.

Questions to Ask Counselees to Determine the Focus of Hope

Where did you think you would be in your marriage (career, etc.) at this point? (This is the same as asking, “What were you hoping for or expecting in your marriage?”)

“What are you seeking security in?” (Scripture makes clear that what I look to for security is an object of hope.)

“What excites you as you anticipate the future?”

“What is robbing you of your joy?” (This question reveals that true hopes lead to happiness but false hopes disappoint.)

Other Passages that Discuss both True and False Hopes

Whether one’s hope is based on something that has happened in the past, something that is true of the present, or something that will be true in the future, scriptural hopes are always far superior. Note the following passages:

  • Psalm 119:81, 114
  • Isaiah 40:31 (wait is the word hope as above)
  • Romans 15:1-4, 13 (notice the object of hope, what you must do to have this hope and the results of this hope)
  • Isaiah 40:31 (“wait” is the word hope as above)
  • I Timothy 6:17

Life as a Worshiper

We have the amazing privilege of living as worshipers of the true God. This is a superior way to live life in contrast to others on the planet who pursue false hopes as the objects of their affections. When my feet first hit the floor in the morning, if I determine to hope in superior things and the Superior One, it will be a formula for living the way we were designed.

Join the Conversation

  1. How have you sought to uncover counselees’ false hopes?
  2. Have you tried to tie the theme of hope to developing a lifestyle of worship? If so, how was it received by counselees?

[i] Arthur Bennett, The Valley of Vision, “A Colloquy on Rejoicing”(The Banner of Truth Trust, 2002), 278