What are you hoping for?
I find hope to be a very interesting idea. It is about looking forward to good things or better times even though we do not yet see any evidence of the object. Sometimes we can be in a dark place, but hope says there is something better on the way.
Most of the time when we talk about hope it really is a wish for something to happen. That desire may be fulfilled at times, but it is still looking ahead with a desire that may or may not come to pass.
When we say, "I hope this year is better than last year", we are stating a desire for something good but we have no way of knowing if that will be the case. Maybe the year will be worse.
If someone says, "I hope I won't lose my job", it is possible because they see that things are tough and their job is not certain. They have a desire that their job will continue but they are not sure.
There are a lot of desires that we express in terms of hope.
The kind of hope that we find in the Bible is different. When we put our hope in God we are certain of the outcome. It is not about wishing for something that may or may not happen. God has provided certainty through the gift of His son, Jesus.
John Piper says it best when he defines hope like this: "Biblical hope is not a mere desire for something good to happen, it is a confident expectation and desire for something good in the future. Biblical hope has moral certainty in it. When the Word says, 'Hope in God!' it does not mean, 'Cross your fingers'. It means, to use the words of William Carey, 'Expect great things from God'."
The Bible tells us that we are born again to a hope that is alive. The hope that followers of Jesus have is the hope of eternal life together with Him. It is a hope that keeps us alive, supports us, motivates us and drives us forward.
It is a hope that invigorates and spurs our souls to action, to patience, to perseverance to the end.
But there is more to it. It is a hope that comes through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and it comes with an inheritance.
"In [God's] great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade" (1 Peter chapter 1, verses 3-4).
This kind of hope does not ignore our dark days or the difficulties we face; instead it looks them in the face and says that all those trials cannot compare to what is ahead of us. That is real hope.
If your hopes have been dashed again and again, can I encourage you to cling to a different kind of hope ... a living hope.•
This article was originally published on rodneyolsen.net