Psalm 42:11, “Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.”
How do we know that ‘we shall again praise Him’? How do we know that this darkness is going to lift? That we will rise again from this pit? That the hopelessness that has devoured days, months, years of our life, will ever—can ever—be escaped? Hope in God, FOR I shall again praise Him . . . but, how do I know that? Ultimately, our assurance of future joy in YHWH is anchored in the risen flesh of our Lord and our God.
In His death, Jesus embraces and endures every darkness, every sorrow, every despair, and every desolation of His people—because He bears hell itself in our place. This means that there is no destitution of soul, no shattering of peace, no God-parched wilderness of spirit, no splintering of faith that God Himself—in Jesus—has not entered into and experienced as our representative on the cross. Therefore, WHEN we arrive at these places, they are NOT finally hopeless since Hope Himself has entered them through the cross [Thus the thorns of suffering that ring in the despairing saint pass through and are held in Christ’s hands.]
But Jesus does not merely enter our hopelessness as a fellow sufferer, He endures it to the full and then rises up beyond it in the radiance of resurrection joy. And since the hopelessness from which He rises is OUR hopelessness (borne vicariously in love), the Risen Jesus Christ stands as the invincible assurance that this very hopelessness in which I find myself will certainly give way to joy in God’s presence.
[In the image, the crucified Christ is an anchor of hope in the midst of hopelessness precisely because He is inseparably bound to the risen Christ. Only the one crucified on the cross of our hopelessness AND raised up beyond all hope into invincible joy is able to descend into our every hopelessness as the sure hope of resurrection life.]
The God in whom we hope is none other than the God supremely revealed in the crucified Jesus who is risen, and because He is THIS ONE, we know that—no matter the darkness—we shall again praise Him, our salvation and our God.