Psalm 71:14 But as for me, I shall always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.
This Psalm has no attribution, but whoever wrote it shared David’s faith. From verse 8 and verse 18 it might be called “The Psalm of the Senior Citizen!” In any case, it depicts someone facing real opposition from people, as well as perhaps physical problems (maybe age related). This verse clearly states the writer’s attitude and the result of that attitude. Every human being desires hope, and it is actually essential to us. It has been shown time and time again that hope or the lack of it is one of the biggest factors influencing medical outcomes, among other things. This has of course been true since the dawn of humanity, and will be true to the end of the universe. That’s why genuine hope is so attractive. Peter pointed out that it is a powerful “bait” for evangelism. (1 Peter 3:15) Actually, “bait” seems to imply some sort of trap, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ is no trap at all! As this writer experienced, when we have a solid hope, gratitude and praise will be the order of the day. When we express praise to God our faith, and consequently our hope, are strengthened, which should in turn lead to more praise. The devil hates praise to God, not only because he desires it for himself and is insanely jealous, but also because he wants to steal our hope, and he knows that he can’t do that to anyone who is focused on praising God.
This is something I have certainly experienced! When I focus on problems rather than on God, those problems loom larger and larger to me and my hope fades. When I focus on God in grateful praise and worship, the problems fade to relative insignificance. It’s not that the problems disappear, it’s that I am able to see that even a worst-case scenario is strictly temporary, and God is going to triumph in the end. Those temporary problems can indeed be severe, but when my focus is on God, I can take them in stride. People marvel when they see that attitude in Christians, and generally they desire to be that way themselves. That’s what Peter was talking about. We are indeed to be prepared to tell people why we have hope, and actually, what our hope is all about. We don’t hope for a problem-free life on this earth. Jesus said otherwise, (John 16:33) and experience certainly validates that. However, when we know and trust the love of God we always have hope, and so can rejoice, just as Jesus said.
Father, it’s easier to practice this when I’m the one in trouble, but right now numbers of people whom I care about deeply are suffering in various ways. Help me communicate Your hope to them, so that together we may praise You and experience Your very best for us, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!