It’s been a hard season, and we’re looking for some hope. Aren’t you? We’re ready to look at how God offers us hope — real, certain, unshakable hope — because we’re pretty sure that looking at where that hope comes from and what it looks like in our lives will help us understand what hope is and the difference it makes. It will allow God to create in us a heart of hope.
That’s why we’re full of HOPE and joy today to tell you that our newest (in)courage Bible study, Create in Me a Heart of Hope, is now available! Cue the confetti! This Bible study features the real-life, going-first kind of stories you know and love from our (in)courage writers and some in-depth Scripture study — like the excerpt we’re sharing below, written by Mary Carver. Read on for a taste of Create in Me a Heart of Hope:
As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.
Mark 4:35-39 (NLT)
The story of Jesus calming the storm is told in three of the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Each account describes a trip across the lake after a long day of teaching. Jesus — who was fully God yet also fully human — was understandably tired and took a nap. While He was sleeping, a great storm blew in. Just as the waves threatened to overwhelm the boat, fear threatened to overwhelm the disciples.
We often react the same way, don’t we? We can become overwhelmed by external circumstances (relationship troubles, job loss, debt, too many demands on our time, parenting, caring for elderly parents) or by internal conditions (fear, anxiety, depression, anger, resentment). And when it feels like the winds of those overwhelming storms might knock us down for good, we frequently find ourselves looking around frantically. Can anyone help me? Does anyone notice what’s going on here? Who’s in charge? Where is God in all this?
We can become so overwhelmed with fear or pain that we lash out, looking for anything to stop the storm. We might begin to seek solutions or solace from anyone or anything that offers a substitute for real hope or help. We turn to Google or Facebook, a punishing workout, or a numbing drink. All the while, God is holding us in His hand. He isn’t asleep, and He hasn’t forgotten about us — even when in our panic we’ve forgotten about Him.
Like the disciples in the boat with Jesus, we desperately need hope when life is overwhelming and we’re tempted to panic and forget what’s true. But while we’re all going to falter in our faith at times, it’s what we do next that counts. Will we spiral deeper into panic and doubt? Or will we acknowledge God’s presence and power and turn our focus back to Him?
In Mark 4:39, to stop a raging storm, Jesus utters just three words: “Silence! Be still!” These words echo Psalm 46, which begins with a familiar declaration of hope: “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble” (v. 1 NLT). Toward the end of that psalm, God says, “Be still, and know that I am God!” (v. 10 NLT). We see a similar command even earlier, in the book of Exodus. As Moses attempts to calm and reassure the Israelites during their escape from Egypt, he says, “The Lord will fight for you, and you must be quiet” (Exodus 14:14). Other translations of that verse say you must “remain calm” or “keep still.”
When we read these passages together, a clear picture is formed of a God who can win wars and calm storms with a single word. So even though our life may feel like pure chaos as we juggle (and drop) balls in our attempt to manage everything on our own, He is not just offering us a lifeline. He is our lifeline. He is our rope of hope when we are overwhelmed, showing us again and again that He is our best and only hope.
What difference could this kind of heart-strengthening hope make in your everyday life? How have you seen God remain the same through changing seasons or circumstances?
Isn’t a taste of hope just what we all need right now? The Create in Me a Heart of Hope Bible Study is the first in our upcoming series of four studies, and it’s available wherever books are sold, including:
- Baker Book House
- Barnes & Noble
And what would a launch day celebration be without a giveaway?!
To celebrate the release of Create in Me a Heart of Hope, we’re giving away FIVE gift bundles!* Just leave a comment on this post answering one of the reflection questions above, and you’ll be entered to win a bundle that includes:
- A copy of the Create in Me a Heart of Hope Bible Study
- A CSB (in)courage Devotional Bible
- Prayers to Share for Hope – 100 Pass-Along Notes
We’re thrilled that this Bible study is finally able to be in your hands. Get your copy and let’s learn what God says about hope. Can’t wait to start? Sign up below and we’ll send you the first week of the Create in Me a Heart of Hope Bible Study for FREE so you can start right away!