Hope and understanding: Two great needs for these times

This week, Pastor Jim Critcher, one of the ministers at Grace Covenant Church, Chantilly, VA, offered words of exhortation and prayer points as we confront the disturbing circumstances resulting from the tragic death of George Floyd. He encouraged believers to apply two passages of Scripture that direct our hearts in seeking hope and understanding in light of what has been transpiring this week: Romans 15:13 and Philippians 4:6-7.

Romans 15:13

The Bible reminds believers that we are in what some say are “these last and evil days.” Also, Thessalonians speaks of “perilous times” or “times difficult to deal with” that shall come. Indeed, these dark and difficult days are here. As we confront the darkness and overwhelming despair, we must position ourselves to move in the opposite spirit or go in the opposite direction. To counter the toxic effects of the deadly element of despair, we must take a double dose of an antidote called hope. This verse reiterates this message:

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

God, our Father, the God of hope, fills us to overflowing with hope. Without question, the Lord gives “a lively hope,” rendered as “a living hope” in other translations, while the New Living Translation states that because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, “Now we live with great expectation.” Indeed, “the expectation of a future good” is one definition of hope. As Christian believers, we go to the Word of God where we discover what else God says about hope.

Hope counteracts thoughts of despondency, when we recognize that hope is a joyful and confident expectation. Though challenges confront us on every hand, even in the face of death itself, we still have hope:


2 Corinthians 1:9-10

Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,

Jesus Christ is described as our “blessed hope,” and because of Jesus Christ’s victory over sin, sickness and even death itself, we have hope that lives eternally. In the midst of difficult situations, we reflect upon the goodness of God who has been faithful in past instances, and the Word of God assures us of His steadfast love, as we rejoice

With our Souls Anchored in Hope

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,

Hebrews 6:19


So, Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.
To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear
A second time, apart from sin and for salvation.
We know that where sin once reigned there shall not be any.
We look up, knowing that our redemption is drawing near
When Christ shall be Lord over every kindred, tribe, and nation.
Our salvation is nearer than when we first believed,
As the signs of his coming continue to abound.
We look to the Eastern skies, waiting for the sunrise.
The time of reaping draws near, for we are not deceived.
To those with eyes to see, end-time signs are all around.
When the bridegroom comes, he will not take us by surprise.
Though fiery trials oppress us, and it seems we cannot cope,
We watch and patiently wait with our souls anchored in hope.

Philippians 4:6-7

This celebrated passage provides another reminder:

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Every situation offers an opportunity to be thankful, no matter how bright or bleak life may be. We can always find something to be thankful for, if for nothing more than that we are alive or that our situation could be worse. We can begin with thanking God that we are alive and then add to the long list of blessings we are enjoying at that moment. Each time we set our minds to be thankful, we are doing the will of God, which is the innermost desire of every believer. To give thanks is to do the will of God.

As we maintain “an attitude of gratitude,” we demonstrate our gratitude to God from the fullness of our hearts, overflowing with thanks. We also personally experience the peace of God that surpasses our understanding, and this peace stands guard as a military garrison to protect our hearts and minds as we abide in Christ Jesus.

We end this blog post on a hopeful note as we listen to one of my all-time favorite hymns: “On Christ the Solid Rock.” I recall that as a youngster I narrated the words while the Junior Choir sang the song. The following recording contains a medley of that treasured hymn along with “In Christ Alone”:

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