The A – Z of Christian Dating – H is for Hope in Christian Dating
If you are just starting out in your dating journey then chances are you are filled with hope. This article is aimed more towards people who have been dating for a while, who perhaps are wondering if and when they will ever meet the right person – since that person seems to be eluding them at present. H is for Hope in Christian Dating.
The bible tells us that without hope life is a shadow and fleeting. 1 Chronicles 29:15 says ‘Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope’. Job 7:6 says “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they come to an end without hope.
In the same way, without hope in Christian dating , it is almost impossible.
However before I talk about Hope in the context of dating I think it is important we understand hope in the context of our Christian faith.
As Christians our hope is based on our faith. It is faith first and foremost in God (the same faith as our Jewish ancestors had), latterly revealed in Jesus Christ. Christ fulfilled all the OT promises which Israel had hoped for so long. Seeing as he did that we can be confident he will fulfil all the promises he makes to us that we find in the NT as well. It is on this our hope is based.
Our Christian hope is not the same as worldly hope that our non Christian friends may have. That hope – which is based on very little in reality – is in my mind as effective as divining your life by deciphering tea leaves! Hope not based on something concrete is not hope at all. Our hope is based on the Scriptures and reality of what Jesus Christ has done for us.
There are a huge number of verses in the Bible mentioning and talking about hope. I have pulled out a number of them that I hope you may find useful to reflect and meditate on. However in using some of them I must give out a warning. It is so easy to take Bible verses completely out of context of the passage around them. In doing this we can change the meaning of the verse or give it our own meaning that perhaps isn’t the meaning that was meant at all. (You only have to think of interviews with politicians which are then edited to contain particular sound bites which then leave their words out of context giving them quite different meaning). My suggestion then with any of the verses I use here that particularly speak to you, is that you study them in their full context.
So many of the verses in the Bible point towards hope in God’s salvation; hope that God will come through; hope that his promises will come true; hope in his love. They talk about what hope in the Lord does for us (i.e. renews our strength See: Isaiah 40:32) and how hope restores us. They teach us to be joyful in hope and to have peace. This hope is for all aspects of our lives and is thus the basis for our hope within the context of dating.
Just like life generally, dating is hard! There are ups and downs, times when we’ll be excited and happy; times when circumstances may make us feel and miserable. Which is why hope (in the Lord) is so important.
When we have put our dating journey into God’s hands, we can have hope in Christian dating (and faith) that he has good things in store for us. We can confidently expect (and hope for) a good future.
It is important to keep this hope in Christian dating (and good future) at the front of our minds – because without it, we could easily become down hearted, depressed and lacking in faith about the good future that the Lord desires for us. And that is no way to date successfully!
Let us then consider some verses that talk about hope:
Psalm 33: 18: “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.”
What a wonderful verse to contemplate. The Lord can’t take his eyes off us who fear him. His love for us is unfailing. That should give us great confidence and a really positive attitude as we go on our dating journey and whilst considering hope in Christian dating.
We know that our Father in heaven loves to give good gifts to his children. Read Matthew 7:11: “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
One of those gifts may well be that of a loving partner if that is your heart’s desire which you have taken to the Lord.
But perhaps your dating journey isn’t going as you might have hoped. Perhaps you have been single a long time. Perhaps you have been praying to God for a partner but you are still single. Perhaps you have been in some close relationships but none have worked out. Whatever your situation you feel downcast and disturbed. Turn then to Psalm 42:5
The Bible tells us not to seek the counsel of our friends (first) but to hope in God (first) because the day is coming when you will praise him. With this hope, you can praise God for the partner he is bringing you, and the partner he is making and shaping you to be for someone else.
When we are anxious about our dating journey, Psalm 62:5 can counsel us to stop and rest in God a while. Put your thoughts about dating on hold for a while, turn again to God and find rest in him. This rest in God will renew your hope and give you the source of your hope in Christian dating. That source is God himself – the one who provides for all your needs.
Ass Christians, dating for us, should be easier than for anyone else because we have the very best helper – the Lord himself. This same Lord can move mountains, calm storms, multiple food, raise people from the dead, and ultimately conquer death itself. We are right to put our hope in him as Psalm 146:5 tells us: ‘Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God’.
When you think of this, and place your hope in this same Lord, and remember it is the same Lord helping you on your journey, isn’t that wonderful? Truly you are blessed as a result. That is definitely something to hold onto.
We talked above about resting in God. Psalm 147: 11 says “ the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love” and Isaiah 40:31 says: but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Here we see that those who do that and who hope in God (as a result) will renew their strength. Perhaps we can read here that you will renew your strength to keep going with your dating journey (although God may of course reveal something else to you). And what encouragement we can draw from this verse. Not only will your strength be renewed, but you will soar on wings like eagles, you’ll run with great energy and not grow weary or faint.
I have seen exactly that with a friend. She was proactively dating but had grown weary, tired and fed up with it all. She took it all to the Lord who began (or rather continued) to do some deep work in her. She focused on him and his word, and then out of the blue she met a man she is now married to. She is soaring on wings like eagles now for sure and her strength very much renewed.
If you think this could never happen to you then reflect on Jeremiah 29:11 : For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Perhaps you have read all the above verses but are still downcast. You long to be with someone. You are lonely on your own. You feel afflicted, in darkness, far from feeling God’s love, care let alone answer to your prayers. If that’s the case I would urge you to take heart from someone else who felt like that that we can read about in Lamentations Chapter 3.
This Chapter is well worth studying because after all the angst that is described comes again the HOPE because of the Lords love and compassion for us. The chapter concludes with a marvellous exposition of how trustworthy the Lord is.
Finally, we can not be certain as to the outcome of our dating journey. We need faith which is confidence (in the Lord) in what we hope for. We need hope in Christian dating. We can not see the outcome (for that would not then need faith) but gloriously we have the assurance of a loving God, who has our future securely in his hands.
Thank God for our faith. Thank God it gives us hope. And thank God that this hope gives us life and a future to look forward to.