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Day 2

4 Questions that Determine My Hope Level

by René Schlaepfer

Read Psalm 31

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. [Psalm 31:24]

As I share in the small group videos at www.HopeExperience.com, when I was young my father died of cancer. I remember reasoning, “I will protect myself from being hurt again by always imagining the worst possible outcome in life. That way I’ll never be surprised when things go wrong!”

And so I did. The result of so much negative thinking was, of course, negative. As I grew, I became increasingly filled with insecurity, because that’s what I had been pouring into my life!

This all began to change after a major adult anxiety attack landed me in the hospital. To counter my anxiety I put verses about the positive promises of God onto 3×5 cards and read them several times every day. Many of those verses are in this daily devotional! I noticed that each verse fell into one of four categories. In my observation, most people tend to lose hope when they have unbiblical answers to any of these four questions:

What is my view of God? Do I see Him as my loving Father, as my Good Shepherd, or is he a capricious and hard-to-please deity?

What is my view of myself? Am I a loser who tries and fails to do what is right, or am I chosen by God to be holy and blameless in His sight?

What will the future bring? Am I only going to be disappointed repeatedly, or am I destined for greatness, promised a bright future in heaven and opportunities on earth?

What is the outcome of suffering? Is it absurd and arbitrary, or does God promise never to waste a single tear that falls?

For years, my own answers to those questions were unbiblical — or at least incomplete — and so I was severely hope-deficient. But much like the shift in thinking at verse 14 of Psalm 31, my self-talk shifted from pity and pessimism to hopeful expectation. In this study, we’ll look at the unshakable promises of God related to each question! Be strong and take heart, and prepare for a hope infusion!

Question to Consider

What are my honest responses to the four questions in today’s reading?


Lord, help me grow in hope during the next seven weeks!