After my last post a friend asked me two questions:
- What is hope?
- Where do I find it?
These are great questions that demand a response.
What is Hope?
When answering the question, “What is hope?”, it depends on which way you’re looking at it. There is a difference between worldly hope and biblical hope.
Worldly hope could be defined as, “to wish for, to expect, but without certainty of the fulfillment; to desire very much, but with no real assurance of getting your desire.” You know this type of hope. There is a desire to see it happen, but you are not sure it ever will.
We hope this is the year we finally find our significant other. We hope we get a promotion. University of Texas fans hope we get back to winning football games. Texas A&M fans hope to keep a quarterback around. This is worldly hope.
Biblical hope is different. Biblical hope is a strengthening of the spirit through confident expectation and sure certainty in the promises of God and their implications – past, present and future. This hope is very different from worldly hope. It’s not desire, it’s certainty. It’s not a probability, but a promise.
The feeling of biblical hope creates a strengthening, a resolve of the spirit specifically through the confident expectation and sure certainty in the promises of God. Our God is a God of hope (Rom. 15:13) whose word never returns void (Isa. 55:11).
“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Num. 23:19). Every promises he makes he will fulfill – past, present and future. It’s certain.
When Davy was born and we didn’t know whether she was going to live or die, I had a choice. I could place my hope in worldly things or I could place my hope in God. I could place my hope in doctors, nurses, advancement in the medical field, a great hospital, my little girl’s will to live or I could place my hope in the Creator of galaxies who created the heavens by the works of His hands (Ps. 102:25).
All those other things – doctors, nurses, hospitals – are all great things, but they were never meant to be the vessels that carried my hope. I had to lean into God and the truth of biblical hope.
Where Do I Find It?
We can find this hope in three places.
- God – The Psalmist cries out, “Hope in God.” (Psalm 42:11). God was the only one meant to carry the full weight of your hope. God is, “ merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…” (Exodus 34:6). We are called to find our hope in him.
- His Promises – The only way we can truly hope in God though is if we know him. The Scriptures are the place where he has revealed himself and the promises he has for his people. It’s in his word that we find that he has given us a new identity (2 Cor. 5:17), is empowering us daily through the Holy Spirit (John 16:13) and that one day we will dine in his presence (Rev. 19:6-9).
- Jesus – “The Apostle of Hope” Peter reminds us that we have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3-9). It’s the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that secures the promises of God on our behalf. All the promises of God find their yes in him (2 Cor. 1:20). If we have confess with our mouths that “Jesus is Lord” and have believed that God has raised him from the dead we have the promise that our sins are covered, we are adopted into God’s family and there is the inheritance of heaven waiting for us.
As we walk daily let us fight to place our hope in God – the creator of hope, the sustainer of hope and the only one strong enough to carry it.