I will hope continually, and will praise thee yet more and more. Ps 71:14, RSV
Sometimes hope has to lead the way. The Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII because they had a ray of hope. They had Ray and they had hope. It was the energy, the effort and the effulgence of Ray Lewis that allowed the Ravens to defeat the San Francisco 49’ers 34-21 in a thriller. On paper, the 49’ers were a formidable foe, and the Ravens weren’t even supposed to be in the Super Bowl, much less win it.
The Ravens defeated vaunted New England 28 -13 in the 2013 AFC Championship game, and throughout the playoffs Ray Lewis, a 37-year-old linebacker, was the team’s inspirational leader; winning the Super Bowl a second time enabled him to become a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer and the last player left from Baltimore’s first Super Bowl championship, riding off into a celebratory retirement.
Sometimes hope has to lead the way. “There’s no other way to go out and end a career,” said Lewis, who returned from a torn triceps, which forced him to miss the final 10 regular-season games, to make 51 tackles in the postseason. “This is how you do it.”
The winner of this year’s Super Bowl must at least “hope” they will win. From this hope they can go on to wanting to win, and then finally knowing they will win. But it all starts with hope. Winning is dependent on a real, tangible, palpable desire that is the surety for a future return on this emotional and spiritual investment. Victory is only granted to those who hope for it.
Hope, however, is not a fanciful, pie-in-the-sky, sweet by-and-by fantasy. It is a belief rooted in reality. The proclamation of the coming Kingdom of God was the central element in the teaching of Jesus. The certainty of admission into this Kingdom for those who accepted His teaching is the substance of hope. Hope for the believer is not a wishful, willy-nilly, wannabee whim. On the contrary, “hope” for the Christian is “a certainty.” 
So let your hope lead the way. Jesus is our strength for today and our bright hope for tomorrow. He is the reason we get out of bed in the morning and the reason we sleep with anticipation through the night. Peter said we have a “lively hope,”, and Paul told us that we live in “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;” (Titus 1:2, KJV). Let hope lead the way.
Jesus is our hope and salvation; we look to him, and him alone for hope. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;” (Titus 2:13, KJV)
So, the next time you are discouraged, ask yourself, “why?”
“Why should I feel discouraged, and why should the shadows come, why should my heart feel lonely, and long for Heaven and home? When Jesus is my portion, my constant friend is he; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.”
Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
My Savior and my God!
Ps 42:11, New Living Translation
 International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.