Hope is as essential to us as the air we breathe and the water we drink. We are always reaching for hope because it is hope that gives our life meaning. The individual purpose or goal that we are drawn to throughout our life springs from hope. Hope is the reason we get up in the morning and the encouragement we need to get through each day.
From hoping that today’s meeting goes well, to hoping we have the courage to weather life’s storms, our lives are powered by hope. We hope for happiness, health, a loving spouse, amazing kids, a good job, great friends, and a nice place to live. We hope for peace, righteousness, grace, safety, and so on.
That’s a lofty list of expectations to fit into a rather small word. Translated from the Greek, hope has the compelling definition of ‘trust with confidence’. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says that hope is a desire accompanied by expectation or belief of fulfillment. Finally, translated from the Hebrew, hope is to ‘wait with trust in God’s promises’.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has “set eternity in the human heart.” I believe THAT is the hope that is essential and inspires us. It lifts us up when we are discouraged, and it allows us to feel Jesus’ presence when we are sad and lonely and feel abandoned.
Hope is not the trust that everything will be normal again, or even that tomorrow will be a better day. The truth is, we are not guaranteed to get the things we ask for or work toward, and that can be difficult to accept.
Hope is not relying on our own strength but placing our trust in Christ’s promises. But what exactly are those promises? When we choose to believe in Jesus and receive Him into our hearts, He promises to be a faithful presence in our life. He keeps us from getting lost. When we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, He promises we will receive everything we need – the desires of His heart, not necessarily ours.
For most of us, I know for me personally, it took a catastrophe to learn what hope really meant. I learned first-hand the power of hope in my life, as the lone survivor of a fiery crash, teetering on death’s door. Hope was the only light in my darkness. It was a whisper in my heart that told me I would survive. It promised that my mustard seed of faith was enough. It reassured me that each day of my life would unfold according to God’s plan.
Perhaps like me, you have had a desperate moment in time when hope pulled you through. A moment when Jesus wrapped His arms around you, and you trusted that He would never let you go. Even if nothing you planned worked out, and your worst fears were realized, you still had hope because we have a powerful God who has put the hope of eternity in our future.
As Psalm 71 says, we ‘will always have hope’, because God IS our hope – today and for all eternity.