One word comes to my mind every Spring. It’s a word that inspires optimism, joy, and peace in life. It calms fears and helps us look to the future. As spring bursts forth with new life around you, let this word resonate: Hope. Spring is full of hope.
There’s hope in new beginnings. Look around. The earth itself is hopeful. It is hopeful in the new life it receives every year, right about this time. The gray, dreariness melts away, and vibrant colors of green, blues, purples, yellows, pinks, and more appear.
Spring represents new beginnings, and these new beginning point us to our everlasting hope. No matter the season, the situation, or our circumstances, the God of Hope stays the same.
This year, let the new leaves, grass, and flowers point you to the God of Hope. The one that gives the earth, and our souls, new beginnings. Here are 5 verses God has given us to spur hope.
And, amazingly, how this hope spurs health.
God tied faith, hope, and assurance together for us. In Romans it says “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Romans 11:1).
It may sound silly to some to have assurance in what you cannot see. But for the Believer, it’s this assurance that drives and directs our lives. In science, hope may be defined or described as “a positive motivational state…derived sense of successful goal-directed energy and pathways to meet goals” (1).
And this is okay, too. But it’s the hope of God that goes beyond motivation, beyond energy, and gives a truly life-changing gift we can be sure of.
And is there a better picture in all of nature than what we see in Spring? As we first start to see the buds on trees, the stalks of spring flowers, and the tiny blades of grass appear, we have hope. And we are sure of what comes next, even though we can’t see it yet. God is faithful year after year, spring after spring. The same is true in our own lives. We have hope and we can be sure.
Romans 5:1 Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
Psalm 43:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Amazingly, hope goes beyond spiritual health. God has given us the amazing gift of hope, and it affects us physically and mentally too.
The best part?
Since our hope is in Him, completely based on His promises and being, it’s always there. Our God and our hope is steadfast. Here’s how hope and health can go together this spring:
Hope is an effective buffer against stress and anxious thoughts. Hope reduces depression, and increases feelings of happiness.
Smiling, laughing, and feeling happy (even when faked) can reduce stress and alter chemicals in the brain (1). These chemical changes flood our bodies and further reduce stress and its effects.
Believe it or not, hope itself can reduce physical pain as a natural antithetic as well as the perception of pain.
There’s even a name for it: “cognitive mediation hypothesis.” This hypothesis describes the connection and influence of psychological factors, such as depression and hopelessness, and their relationship to physical pain. In fact, a study of 164 male patients with back pain found that hopelessness has a direct link to depression, and depression can increase physical pain (2, 3).
We can choose hope in God and reduce pain.
Sometimes, life requires resilience. We’ve all been there. Whether it’s from physical, financial, mental, relational, or emotional turmoil, life throws us curveballs.
But, take heart and have hope. Meditate on God. Hope can increase resilience. And there’s no better hope, than hope in Him.
Studies have found that the level of hope can predict mortality within specific diagnosises (4, 5), and increase survival rates for patients with head and neck conditions compared to those who feel pessimistic (6).
Have hope and persevere this spring.
No matter your age, it’s important to keep your body healthy year after year. As discussed in 7 Steps to Healthy Aging, healthy eating, exercise, and sleep are all key components of healthy aging.
And our outlook of hope affects all of these.
Hope improves our motivation to eat well and stay active. Hope reduces or stress response to improve our health and sleep. The correlation for good sleep, when you compare those who feel depressed and stressed versus those who feel hopeful, has been well studied (9, 10). Those with hope sleep better.
And therefor, age better too.
It’s a great time for hope.
And if your hope is in God, it’s a sure thing. The God of the Universe is the same today, yesterday, and always. Put your trust and hope in Him this spring. He’s shown us we don’t need to be afraid. He’s with us. And best of all, we can rejoice as we hope in these new beginnings now and into the future.