Hope. Such a small word for such a big, important concept.
Multi-syllable synonyms seem to carry more clout: expectation, assurance, confidence, conviction, and assumption are a few. (Thank you, Dr. Roget.)
Stir them together to create a definition for faith-filled hope: the constant, confident, assured expectation that God will see us through every circumstance until we’re standing before him in heaven. Those are words with heft that we can hang onto in the dark of night.
You see, hope is much more than wishful thinking.
But sometimes it hides behind the overwhelming issues we face: health concerns, financial problems, troubled relationships, difficult circumstances, foreboding futures.
How can we live with confident assurance that all will be well when uncertainty seems to rule the day, the week, the year?
As always, scripture offers us insight:
- Understand that hope doesn’t come from a hidden reservoir within ourselves. According to 1 Peter 1:3, our hope comes from God, provided for us out of his loving mercy. It’s a living hope, breathing energy and strength into our souls.
- Remember: we can live with positive expectation because He is our all-powerful, grace-filled God—loving, kind, and wise, too. He’s not just watching from afar; he’s an involved God, tending over us like an attentive Shepherd (Isaiah 40:11a).
- Rest assured that our faithful God will see us through to a satisfying conclusion—either through events that unfold over time, or perhaps through an instantaneous miracle. It may be the satisfying conclusion will not come until we cross the threshold into eternity (1 Peter 5:10). But then, in the glorious ecstasy of that moment, our earthly trials will no longer matter (Philippians 1:21-23).
- God’s plan is designed for our good (Jeremiah 29:11).
- Hope involves waiting (Micah 7:7)—expectantly and patiently.
Sometime during second grade I noticed that being a teacher looked like fun. And soon my favorite pastime became playing school with whomever I could cajole into being students. When necessary, dolls were pressed into service.
That dream of becoming a teacher stayed with me all through school. Finally, after fourteen years, I was the one standing in front of my own class of cherubic first and second graders. My hope, my confident expectation that I would one day be a teacher, had at long last become reality. And the import of the moment was not lost on me. My eyes filled with tears that I had to quickly blink away.
Such euphoric joy does not happen often without waiting. We appreciate more what we have to wait for. And frequently, hard work is also involved. God allows us to be part of the process, teaching us important lessons about patience and perseverance along the way.
Here’s what I need to remember, and perhaps the realization will help you too:
Long-term waiting and steady, hard work toward a dream makes the fulfillment all the sweeter when it finally comes.
For now, we can enjoy hopeful anticipation of a new reality that is coming—a new chapter of good health, financial security, improved relationships, or fulfilled dreams. We can take comfort from the knowledge that our God, who is unlimited by the constraints of time, already resides there.
Let’s step out into each new day with trust and obedience, because God is preparing us for that new chapter. And may these words ring in our ears: “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him” (Lamentations 3:25).
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What hope have you been clinging to? Are there scriptures which contribute to your confidence and expectation? What experiences of the past give you assurance for your hopes of the future? Please share your insights!