Recently, I hosted a party for two friends whose birthdays fell in the same week. Although I had hoped for sunny weather so that we would be able to enjoy sitting out on the back patio, it rained that day, and we were kept indoors. What we hope for doesn't always happen.
In English, "hope" implies a wish for something that may be possible. However, "hope" in the New Testament, from the Greek word "elpis", to anticipate or to welcome, is much more affirmative. In Greek, it's an expectation, trust, or confidence.
Because of the implication of the word "hope" in our language today, and because hope underlies all our Christian beliefs, we need to think "trust" when we read "hope".
Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (NIV 2011)
This word "hope" is everything to a Christian. Whatever trials and tribulations we are asked to endure, we have hope (trust) that, if not in this life, in the next, we will be better off. We hope (trust) that God's promises are sure, that He is with us through all things.
Because of our hope in God's salvation and the ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit indwelling us, our lives reflect the assurance that we are secure now and in our death. From our safe position, we can look outward and take care of others in the world around us. Our lives should reflect our confidence.
"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness." The lovely hymn by Edward Mote sums it up: "On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand."
As Christians who have been given these promises and whose sins have been hung on the cross with Christ our Saviour, we should be bursting with love and lovingkindness to others. While others tread through our sinful and broken world in fear and uncertainty, we are able to stride in confidence that we are under God's protection, and even when things go awry, He still has us in the palm of His hand.
Romans 15:13 – 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. (NIV 2011)
Let's take our hope out into the world and be living examples to others of the confidence that we have because of our personal relationship with Christ. Perhaps others will want some of our hope for themselves.
Prayer: Lord God, help us to rely more fully on You and Your promises to us. Help us to live lives that reflect Your hope in us so that others may want to share in it, too. In Jesus' name, we pray this. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "I Waited For The Lord My God" (Lyrics)