Hope. Finding it is tough and placing it in the right things can be even harder. After all, what is hope, where should it come from, and why should you even have it? Mary, the mother of Jesus, had every reason to be hopeless but instead, found hope and the words of her song conveys it.
No matter how hopeless you feel right now, will you explore hope with me?
My prayer is that you find the hope you need this season and that you’re able to use today’s Bible Study to find hope in every season.
Before we dive into Mary’s story let’s explore what hope actually is.
Grab your Bible study guide here: How to Have Hope When it All Seems Hopeless
What is Hope?
Depending on who you ask, or where you look, you’ll find different meanings for hope. Most definitions have the underpinnings of true Christian hope.
Oxford, Wiki, and Websters all define hope as “expectation of, or anticipation for, something to happen”. That’s my paraphrase of all three.
Christian hope is the same, except we know what it is we’re expecting to happen and we know Who our hope is in.
As Christians our hope is in Jesus and we’re expecting His return, where God makes all things new.
But that can be tough.
Really really tough.
And life constantly assaults you with things attempting to destroy your hope.
Mary knew a thing or two about struggling with hope but this young girl defied the odds.
She’s a champion for hopeless women and models what it is to find hope in a hopeless situation.
Mary's Hope Story
Don’t forget to grab your Bible Study guide here: How to Have Hope When it All Seems Hopeless. That way you can spend your quiet time answering the questions in today’s post.
Mary was dreaming of her wedding day, dreaming of becoming a wife and mother, and setting up her new home.
She had dreams – dreams she’d been hoping and waiting for, for almost a year.
what could be defined by the world as tragedy struck – Mary got pregnant.
Imagine for a minute being an unmarried, pregnant, 13 year old girl during Bible times. This sort of situation would mean she’d never be able to marry, because everyone would think she’d lost her virginity.
Her family may disown her.
Her baby would be illegitimate and that would mean a life of scorn and ridicule for her and the baby.
And if that wasn’t enough…the husband she’d been waiting to marry would likely divorce her.
She was in a desperately hopeless situation.
This was bad. Real real bad and had lifelong ramifications.
- Do you feel like you’re in a similar situation right now?
- If so, write down what’s going on.
Because…something unexpected happened to Mary, and something unexpected might be right around the corner for you as well.
Turn to Luke 1:38
A Hopeful Servant
When Mary received news that would have made most of us utterly hopeless, she responded:
“I am the Lord’s servant, “ Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:38
The angel of the Lord had just told Mary that the Holy Spirit was going to impregnate her with the “Son of the Most High”.
Ummm, how do you even rationalize this one? Even the most mature of Christians might struggle a bit with this.
His last words to Mary were “For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37
Mary didn’t argue or complain, didn’t wallow, and didn’t try to figure out how to fix the problem.
Even though the situation appeared hopeless to the watching world, Mary humbled herself before the Lord and accepted His plans and purposes for her life. I don’t know how much Scripture knowledge she had as a young Israeli girl, but she had enough to place her hope fully in God.
The news she’d received meant she was going to be mother to the promised Messiah, the hope Israel had been waiting for.
- When you’ve received news that appears hopeless how have you responded in the past?
- Are you struggling to find hope now?
- If so, why?
- Based on Mary’s reply, how should you respond to whatever’s stolen your hope?
- Will you humble yourself before God and accept that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28)?
I know this isn’t easy. It can actually be really really hard.
I’ve got good news for you though…finding hope isn’t something you’re supposed to do on your own. Your source of hope is already with you…
Your Hope Source
Mary didn’t go into hiding after hearing this news, nope…she “got ready and hurried” to see her relative, Elizabeth.
God knows when His children need encouraging and I think He knew Mary, despite her humble determination, would need a little boost.
It was the Holy Spirit who ignited Mary’s new hope and He did this by causing Elizabeth to say: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear…” Luke 1:42b
God knew just what Mary would need and He knows just what you need. He might use other people, His Word, time in prayer, or things He’s created to reignite your hope.
Romans 15:13 reads: 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.
- How have you been trying to find hope?
- How have you been dealing with your current struggles?
- Will you lean on your source of hope and rely on His power as you walk through whatever’s going on right now?
- How would your circumstance(s) change if you relied on the Spirit’s power and not whatever you’ve been doing?
You are filled with the power of God, the Holy Spirit, who causes you to overflow with hope. Lean on Him, hold tightly to Him, because with the Spirits help even the most hopeless situation becomes infused with hope.
Hope Leads To...
Mary recognized the fullness of what God was doing in and through her, both for Israel and the world, and responded by singing a song, known as “Mary’s Song”.
God used Elizabeth’s blessing to stir Mary’s joyous words as she sang:
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed.” Luke 1:46-48
The Holy Spirit’s words solidified Mary’s hope and she responded by rejoicing.
She didn’t wait until all the details were worked out or until she had all the answers to the endless list of questions I’m sure she had.
Mary placed her hope in God and God alone and her hope led to joy, boldness, faith, and love.
- She had joy because God was working in her life.
- She could be bold because the details were in God’s hands and not her own.
- She had faith that if God said it, it would happen.
- She loved because God Himself was growing in her womb.
Mary didn’t let the circumstances and potential obstacles define her responses. How she responded was grounded in only one thing – her God.
- Will you ask the Holy Spirit to ignite hope despite your circumstances?
- How can you respond with joy, boldness, faith, and love in your current situation(s)?
Faith in God, who loves like no other, is the hope that surpasses all understanding. And when your hope is in God, you’ll find reasons to be joyful and bold.
Woman of God, you have every reason to be hopeful. And while I don’t know your current struggles or circumstances, I do know your God oh so well.
I’ve been in so many seemingly hopeless situations and each time, when I placed my eyes on the God of all hope, I found hope. After the trials ended, I was able to see all God was doing in and through me.
There isn’t a hardship I’ve gone through that I’d ask God to do over. Nope, not a chance. They were hard but they were worth it.
The difficult circumstances developed a resolute faith and trust in God that I didn’t have before. They made me bold…like really, really bold about my faith, hope, and love for God. And together, those things have given me a steadfast and immovable hope and joy.
Remember, Mary rejoiced despite having many excuses for choosing hopelessness. She rejoiced and placed her hope fully in God Almighty.
If your struggling to find hope and don’t think you can do this on your own, would you go to your pastor and ask for help?
If you don’t have a pastor to turn to, would you email us here so we can help you? We’re here to listen, pray, cry, and also to help you find someone who can help.
We love you and even though we don’t know you, we’re praying for you.
Until Next Time...
And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10-11