I remember having a girlfriend in my youth who had an object in her room she referred to as a “hope chest.” I was curious about what a hope chest was. I was a bit unsettled when she told me it was to store items inside it as she prepared for her wedding and married life. I was only about 16 at the time, so you can imagine my skittish behavior when the word “marriage” was thrown into the conversation!
Inside this girl’s hope chest were linen napkins, towels, placemats, a scarf, white gloves, a necklace from her grandmother, and a photo album designed for holding wedding pictures. At the time, I did not understand or appreciate the practice of gathering items for a dowry of sorts, but now I realize that these items represented this girl’s hope that one day she would find a partner with whom to spend life together, and the hope chest was a reminder of the special day in the future when she would be a “Mrs.” to a “Mr.” who would one day succeed in capturing her heart.
As believers, we have a hope chest. It is not made of cedar or contain ornate designs. It is a book. God’s Word. God, in His goodness, gave His people nuggets of hope in the Word about the coming of Messiah to earth. Through His prophets, more than 270 major predictions of Jesus’ birth, life, sufferings, death, and resurrection were placed in His “Hope Chest,” the written Word. Micah 5:2 revealed His birthplace, Isaiah 7:14 told us He would be born of a virgin and be called ‘Immanuel,’ or “God with us.” Isaiah 11:1 revealed Him to be from the seed of David, and that he would be the seed of a woman in Genesis 3:15, and that He would be the Son of God in Psalm 2:7! All of these items in God’s Word were opened and fulfilled in the “hope chest” of the New Testament!
Beyond this, God continues to give us items of truth to place in the “hope chests” of our hearts until our ultimate glorification or His return. Here are a few treasures from God’s ‘hope chest’ to yours to encourage you and to give you continued hope:
Jeremiah 29:11 – God gives us plans for a “hope and a future.”
Isaiah 40:31 – We who hope in the Lord “will renew” our strength and will soar like eagles!
Psalm 130:7 – God tells me to put my hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love.
Psalm 119:74 – challenges me, for when others see me, they will rejoice because I have put my hope in the Word (what a reminder of how we must live life every day, before everyone, all the time).
Romans 5:4-5 – reminds us that character produces hope, which does not disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts by another gift, His Holy Spirit!
1 Corinthians reminds us that the three greatest virtues will remain when all else fades away – faith, hope, and love.
Colossians 1:27 gives us a great reminder that we possess the greatest mystery within our hearts – Christ, the hope of glory!
Titus 2:13 gives us Christ followers today perhaps the greatest hope of all – the Blessed Hope– the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!!”
A final treasure to place in your Advent hope chest comes from Paul, who wrote probably the best word on hope in Romans 15:13. This is my prayer for us all during this Advent season:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Now, in this season of anticipation and ultimate celebration – what is in your hope chest?
Randy L. Down