I hope things will be different. . . . I hope he’ll start being kinder. . . . I hope she’ll come back to her husband and children. . . . I hope the economy won’t collapse. . . . I hope Jesus will return this year. . . . I hope my abuser will be brought to justice. . . . I hope they’ll repent and acknowledge their sin. . . .
Have you ever noticed that the way we talk about hope in ordinary conversation is very different from the way the Bible describes “hope”?
Why are you cast down, my soul? Why are you disquieted in me? Hope in God! For I will worship Him, who is the Deliverer of my face, and my God.
Hope in Christ isn’t about what I want to see accomplished in the physical realm of this life. It isn’t even necessarily about my circumstances.
But even more important, the kind of hope the Bible talks about isn’t a wavering optimistic “maybe” feeling. It’s a confident expectation. Even anticipation. A sure thing.
My soul, wait only upon God, for my expectation is from Him.
The kind of hope the Bible talks about is a hope in God for God. For God to manifest Himself to us, through the power of the Holy Spirit. For God to manifest Himself to others through us. In spite of earthly circumstances, no matter how horrific. In spite of the sin—the wickedness—of others. Or ourselves.
I have a dear friend who is struggling to deal with abuse from the past. She said it would all be worth it if she could really know God in her experience. But she’s barely holding on to hope, because life seems dark.
Romans 5 tells us that through faith in Jesus Christ, we stand in grace, the divine inflow-outflow of God.
We confidently expect to see and know glory.
We confidently expect to be strengthened through trial.
We confidently expect, without shame, to know in our experience His love that is poured into us and out of us.
When the way seems dark, we’ll continue to stand in Him through His grace. That’s faith.
We unashamedly expect to see the glory, the strength, the love. That’s hope.
This isn’t about longing for a change in our outward circumstances, though that may come. This is about longing to know God in our experience, through Christ, through the Holy Spirit.
And if we don’t lose heart, that’s a sure thing.
So discover what the Bible says about true hope. And don’t let go of hope. Stand in 2013 in confident expectation.