I have discovered that there are few things in life as slippery as the concept of hope. Have you ever said this or had someone say to you,”Hey, why don’t we get together real soon.” Or, “It has been so long, we ought to have you over.” You express a desire to make plans for something with a friend but couch it in the language, “I hope we can get together real soon.” It may be just me but most times the desire to get together and the reality of it ever happening are rare.
Hope is packaged in many ways in our society. From the near impossible odds that your hopes and dreams come true from buying a lottery ticket to fulfilling your hopes to play professional sports. Yes, there are those that both of these things do occur but for the vast majority of us as “Ordinary Joes” the odds are stacked against us big time.
When we open the Bible, we hear a word like “hope” and we immediately think of how we should assimilate it into life. The really good news is that when God uses that word it is more a guarantee. How does he do that? Well, he is God! Pretty simple, eh? Actually, that is very close to the truth. We read of the “hope of the gospel”, “our hope in the living God”, “the hope of eternal life” or even “everyone who has this hope purifies himself.” The basis on which God can promise something to us is the same character of God!
Hope for us today in our relationship to God is based on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We can have real hope today because Jesus is alive and is our hope. The overwhelming truth of the good news of salvation is that we have a sure hope because of the events that fulfilled God’s promises in the Old Testament. Verses like Psalm 16:19, “I will not suffer my Holy One to see corruption,” come to mind.
Unfortuately, whenever we hear someone make us a promise like that we think of the used car salesman (sorry if you are a used car salesman!). The great difference being that God is faithful to his promises. Our hope is real and it makes a difference in the way we live our lives. We can take risks for God, we can boldly be obedient to his word, no matter what the cost is to us now. I love what C.S. Lewis wrote in this regards, “Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.”
The world says, “Live for yourself, live for today, eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die.” Yet God warns us “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” (1 Timothy 6:17) I know too many people who have shipwrecked their faith having abandoned this truth.
The hope we have in Christ is invaluable. It allows us to sleep at night, it allows us to be bold for him and it gives us confidence to take the next step in our relationship with him. I pray that you have this hope and I pray that it is real in your life today!