What is Hope?
I’ve heard it said that the English language is one of the hardest languages to learn for someone who does not speak English as their native tongue.…..and, although not holding that as my own experience, I can certainly see how that could/would be accurate.
As a verb, Hope means:
- To cherish a desire with anticipation
- To desire with expectation of obtainment
- To expect with confidence
As a noun, Hope means:
- A desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment
- Someone or something on which hopes are centered
- Something hoped for
Is Hope necessary?
Hope, regardless of any type of religion or belief system, is a necessity…..a part of human living. Without it, human kind would never be able to envision the future. It is something that resides in every person without a thought or a regard as to why we possess it. Although not always held in the highest regard or even recognized audibly, hope, to many, is maybe as small (or grand) as an illusion, an imagining that is desperate, feeble, or even futile. In general, it is legitimate to see hope as a future expectation, even if it is deceptive or unreachable!
So, regarding hope, what is Biblical hope? Where does it reside? Is it the same as “believing”?
What makes Biblical hope different?
The essential difference is really in its source.
When the Bible talks about hope, it is not talking about wishful thinking. A lot of people say, “I hope to have (something)” when what they really mean is “I wish to have (something).” Therefore, it is important to understand what hope means to a believer (Christian).
As specified above, hope can be defined as a desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment. Biblical hope is certainty, not a desire or an expectation.
Certainty is an assured FACT. An expectation is an eager anticipation.
Hope is real because it is founded on faith in the factual content of the Gospel, which is:
- Jesus was delivered to death on account of our sins (1 Peter 3:18)
- Jesus was buried (Matthew 27:59-60)
- Jesus was raised from the dead (Mark 16:1-6)
It is on this basis (faith) that we have HOPE.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
Biblical hope becomes possible when there is belief in the living God who acts and intervenes in human life and who can be trusted to keep His promises.
Hope isn’t the same as believing, but hope stems from it! Biblical hope is therefore inseparable from, but not the same as, faith in God. Biblical hope is the certain expectation of the future–the reality of God’s blessings, based upon the reflection of the activities of God’s faithful actions, as revealed in the Bible.
Jesus never explicitly taught his disciples about hope; rather, he taught them not to be anxious about the future because that future was in the hands of a loving Father. (Phil. 4:6)
How can a believer be SURE in his hope?
- Because God’s promises are sure (1 Peter 1:21)
- Because of the work being done in us in preparation for Christ’s return (Phil. 1:6).
- Because we have the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).
- Because hope does not disappoint (Rom. 5:5).
Ministry definitely has its own highs and lows—if you have worked on a church staff or even as a volunteer, you understand. The days when youth ministry is frustrating and I feel like a failure are the days when I get a sense of what God’s heart must feel like when He constantly sees His creation choose a direction other than His. It’s those days that I ask myself how Jesus could have spent so much time in the midst of Judas, his betrayer and yet had so much peace and job? He knew Judas would betray Him because it was prophesied (Psalm 41:9). Days of frustration are what make my journey of faith more real. It reminds me that life isn’t perfect. Part of me says “just deal with it”, but the other part knows that God is so much bigger and more in control than I will ever understand.
God is God and I am not. It is in these days where I live on Hope.
Hope that my faith in Christ is the same faith that the early disciples had in their ministry. Hope that God is still God and doing something divine in (or despite) the entire world. Hope that my human failures can be used to teach me. Hope that sin won’t keep conquering people’s lives but God’s Spirit will break through.
Hope is what allows people to get out of bed with anticipation that today will be different than yesterday. Hope gives people the chance to rest in God’s faithfulness. Hope is when I let God be God.
Everything else I manage to the best of my human abilities with God’s guidance.
So, please, arise tomorrow….with a fresh new hope for a new blessed day covered in God’s presence and bathed in God’s love.