Hope for Hope
by Barry Shafer
April 14th, 2016
Sociologists and culture experts have observed that we live in an era of rampant depression and anxiety, particularly among the teen generation. Would you agree with this observation? If so, what do you think is driving this depressed state? Take a minute to jot down a couple ideas.
Of all the causes that could lead to our depressed era, the common denominator is simply hopelessness. We are disconnected from the one thing that can lift us out of anxiety and depression: hope. The psalmist said this in Psalm 16:9 (NKJV):
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.
Our physical bodies are able to rest in hope. That’s a good thing. So, let’s take a few moments to actually do that—to rest in hope—and maybe we can do our part to start turning the tide of our depressed era.
1. Digging In (God, Show Me!)
God is a big fan of hope. It’s a natural byproduct of the promise of eternal life. Take some time to immerse yourself in the message of hope. Meditate and reflect on the passages below (you may want to print them out so that you can mark up the Scripture). Yes, it’s quite a few passages. But hope is a big thing. If it helps, start with just a few verses. As you meditate, write down everything you learn about hope. Use these questions as a guide.
How is hope described?
What can it do?
What does it enable us to do?
1 Corinthians 13:6-7
2 Corinthians 3:12
2. Taking It Inward (God, Teach Me!)
As you have immersed in these great verses about hope, what is being impressed on your heart? What is God saying to you about hope? Journal your thoughts before responding to the next questions.
What specific situations do you have going on in your life that could use a dose of hope? Here are some areas to consider:
What situations do your friends have going on that could use a dose of hope?
3. Putting Into Practice (God, Change Me!)
Consider this: Maybe God is calling you to be an agent of hope to those around you. How can you do this? We’ve suggested some ideas below, but think of these as a catalyst to allow God’s Spirit to stir your creativity.
1. Hope Posts
Lock on to two or three of the hope verses above that resonated the most with you. Find or create an image that expresses the message in each one and post that image with the verses and your thoughts.
2. Hope Project
Adopt a friend in need of hope and make him or her your “hope project,” with their permission. Infuse them with hope and reminders of hope. You may want to start with this devo.
3. Hope Ambassador
Launch a “hope initiative” at your school or in your student ministry. Start a blog or a website dedicated to the message of hope. Reach out to other teens who are desperately in need of the message of hope.
This originally appeared here and is shared with the author's permission.
Barry Shafer has been communicating the truth of God’s Word since 1984 as a volunteer youth leader, youth pastor, pastor, author and speaker. Barry, with his late wife Dana, founded InWord Resources in 1996 to strengthen youth ministry with discipleship materials and experiences that meaningfully engage teens in Scripture. Barry is author of Unleashing God’s Word in Youth Ministry (Youth Specialties/Zondervan) and has written numerous teen devotionals and small-group Bible studies.
Barry holds a mass communications degree from Anderson University (Anderson, Ind.) and a master’s degree in biblical studies from Cincinnati Bible Seminary (Cincinnati, Ohio). He lives in Middletown, Ohio with his infant son Reade and his wife Jessica, who happens to be a Grammy-winning opera soprano. If you’re curious about that fascinating world you can check out Jessica’s website here! [LINK: www.jessicarivera.com]
When Barry’s not studying, writing, being a diva spouse, or “daddy-ing” Reade, you can find him reading on the porch, biking on a trail, pulling for the Packers, or playing a little golf.
More of Barry Shafer: www.inword.org