How many times in any given day would you say you utter an expression that begins with the phrase: “I hope…”? In my case, it’s just way too many to count. I hope a lot. I hope I can get a new car soon. I hope my tomatoes bloom. I hope we can make it to the beach this summer. I mostly hope for sunny days, but sometimes I even hope it rains.
I hope, I hope, I hope…I feel like a bunny…yeah, I know, it’s not the same word…but, I hop through hope all day long : )
At any rate, we all know what hope means. According to the dictionary, hope is: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Easy, right? The truth is that, even though, hope may be easy to define, it is a different story to experience it.
The rather complicated nature of the concept of hope comes, in my humble opinion as an impatient/controlling person, from its undeniable relationship with the concept of endurance. Like I read Beth Moore write in her Bible Study of Thessalonians, “hope is long.”
Hope is not a thing of the moment. It is not an idea associated with the present. It is an expectation of the future. Furthermore, hope is unseen, and as it ties together with endurance, it inevitably implies suffering and hardship…otherwise we would not be talking about “endurance,” would we? It would be more like, “enjoyment” or “pleasure…” (Endurance, according to the dictionary is: the ability to do something difficult for a long time. The ability to deal with pain or suffering that continues for a long time.)
Look at the words related to endurance: difficult, pain, suffering…for a long time…
I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t like to be in pain, suffering difficulty for a long time. Hope, however, sometimes includes such ingredients. Paul talked a lot about it. And as he tells us how hope is a good thing since it sustains us, and we are to boast on the hope of the glory of God, (Romans 5: 2) he also tells us that,
“we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5: 3-5)
Hope, therefore, is not a light, fluffy, dream-like state where we suspend our disbelieve and float away wishing upon stars. Hope is grounded on the reality of life’s hardship and on the need to be patient to endure whatever comes our way, but above all, hope is rooted in the certainty that we are not going to be disappointed for hope stems from God’s love. And that is the flip side of hope. On the one side, there is the implication of the need for endurance, and on the other, we realize that the basis for hope is found in God’s love, which He pours in us through the Holy Spirit. Hope inspires endurance because of Christ, and that’s the good news of hope. It is not a flaky illusion that could vanish in thin air. True hope is found in Jesus, and He will not disown it, for in this hope, we are saved. (Romans 8: 24)
Well, I guess, I may get carried away hoping for things that I may never see. But I will not stop, for even though at times it may involve enduring long periods of suffering, hope never disappoints because love never fails.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Linking with: Essential Thing Devotions