Hope. Is it merely wishful thinking? A verb? "I hope we win the game. I hope we're going to have a beautiful summer after this long winter. I hope they like me. I hope I can be forgiven..."
Often in our world, we have minimized or mistaken the deeper, real meaning of hope. A noun. Given with the greatest of Gifts. Found in our Savior, Jesus Christ.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." 1 Peter 1:3
In Jesus, our hope is real. Our hope is certain. God handed us hope in the manger, and He secured our hope at the cross and the empty tomb. Through Jesus' death and resurrection, by faith we have the hope of salvation and eternal life in Him; we areforgiven by His grace; we receive the promise of the final resurrection. Our hope is a reality, NOT wishful thinking!
"May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
Yes, our God of hope is able to fill us with joy and peace in every circumstance as we trust in Him; we overflow with His hope poured into us, and this enables us to persevere through the pain and difficulty that all-too-often fills our days. Maybe you have struggled with an addiction or suffered from depression or mourned a terrible loss. Maybe you live with chronic pain or struggle with a strained relationship. The Lord brings comfort to you through these words from Romans 5:3-5: "We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, HOPE. And HOPE does not disappoint us..."
We're not called to rejoice because we suffer, but to rejoice in the midst of our sufferings. In them, character is developed; the kind of character that allows us to recognize and empathize with others as they face similar struggles because we have walked a related road.
And character produces hope. Real hope in a real Savior who knows our every need and enables us to step out in hope when sufferings and struggles surround us, because we know that one day we will be delivered out of all of them and into His arms. We have His promise.
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23 As you face the cross on Good Friday; as you gaze in wonder at the empty tomb this Easter, worshiping the One who died and rose for YOUR sins; as you hold unswervingly to the hope you profess, you can hand out hope in His name. Point people to the Hope that IS Christ.
If people mistake hope as merely wishful thinking or attempt to place their hope in anything or anyone else, they will find themselves disappointed and disillusioned. There is only One in whom real hope can be found.
In our Savior's strength, we step out to share with them our hope in the One who stepped in and saved us by His amazing grace.
The One who heals our past, no matter where we've been or what we've done.
The One who helps us in the present. Right now. In the midst of every struggle.
The One who holds us now and in the future, whatever may come.
He is the One who stepped out of the tomb that first Easter morning, giving real and certain HOPE for eternity.
Step out. In Hope.