Living with Hope

by Apr 5, 2023Devotional, Easter, The Power of Hope

And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

Nehemiah 8:10 (NLT)

As part of a family actively involved in the music ministry at church, I grew up memorizing hymns with lines like “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness[1],” “…strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow[2],” and “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow[3].”

Yet as a young adult, when the drama and trauma of life was intense and relentless and what I was sure couldn’t get worse got worse, the hope I sang of in those hymns was clouded over by despair. At my lowest moments, instead of drawing on the truth that Jesus loves me and wants me to live the abundant life, I focused on my angry list of all that God was allowing to happen to me. The more songs and hymns and platitudes I heard, the more I steeled myself against His embrace.

Around that time our single adult fellowship began a study of the Old Testament book of Nehemiah. As I worked on the homework each day, studying the verses and answering questions in preparation for the next week’s meeting, my bitter heart began to soften. And as our group learned about Nehemiah leading the rebuilding of the walls around the holy city of Jerusalem, walls destroyed during exile, my outlook on life—my faith and trust—was rebuilt, and my shattered hope was restored.

Each week as we delved into the Scripture, we saw Nehemiah’s full commitment and surrender to God. We saw him unwilling to give in to the opposition, unwilling to stop his service to God, unwilling to allow anything to steal his joy. He lived victoriously and with a full focus on the God he loved and served. There was no room for wavering when he had a single focus and kept his hope in God alone—hope for each day and hope for the morrow.

Nehemiah said “…the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). Abundant life is not synonymous with trouble-free life. Abundant life is living in the fullness of joy because of the hope we have in Christ, hope that gets us through each day and awaits an eternity with Him. Abundant life is living in resurrection joy—joy that comes from the hope of our salvation and the victory in Jesus.


[1] “My Hope is Built”, Edward Mote, 1834

[2] “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” Thomas O. Chisholm, 1923

[3] “Because He Lives,” Gloria and William J. Gaither, 1971

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