This isn’t a prosperity gospel, however. I’m not saying that God is obligated to give us whatever we want — such as a great job — if only we have enough faith. How could I, given current headlines? Christians are getting mowed down in Syria, Kenya, and Pakistan, just to cite three examples. Yet are they without hope? I think not! As Scripture says, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15). No, whatever life or the devil throws at us, however terrible, it comes at the permission of God. We have hope in all circumstances, in this life and the next (Romans 8:18).

The question is, what are we going to do in the face of calamities as big as ethnic cleansing or as small as a job loss? As one who faces the one and not the other, I choose to hold onto hope. The Book of Hebrews encourages us “to hold fast to the hope set before us. … a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:18-19).

We Christians talk a good game when all appears to be going well — when nothing throws a roadblock in front of our pursuit of personal peace and affluence. But what is anchoring our soul when something bad comes our way … when a storm blows in? What do we say? And what do we do?

I choose to act as if this “Christianity thing” is real and that it makes a difference, in good times and in bad, so that people who see my response are so intrigued that they ask me to give a reason for the hope that is in me (1 Peter 3:15). I don’t always succeed, but that is the goal. What’s yours?

One of my models in this approach to the hard things of life, which we all can expect, is the late Tony Snow, who died of colon cancer. “The moment you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death,” he wrote a few years ago, “things change. You discover that Christianity is not something doughy, passive, pious, and soft. Faith may be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But it also draws you into a world shorn of fearful caution. The life of belief teems with thrills, boldness, danger, shocks, reversals, triumphs, and epiphanies.”

I want to eagerly live in a “world shorn of fearful caution,” too. Don’t you? It can be dizzying for sure. But that’s what hope is all about.

Christian, it’s time to get your hopes up.

Stan Guthrie is author of the new book, A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy: 60 Predictions Everyone Should Know. Stan blogs at http://stanguthrie.com.