What are you hoping for? What are your big hopes?
I find hope to be a very interesting idea. It’s about looking forward to good things or better times even though we don’t yet see any evidence of the object of our hope. Sometimes we can be in a dark place but hope says there’s something better on the way.
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.
– Desmond Tutu
Most of the time when we talk about hope it really is a desire or wish for something to happen. That desire can be stronger at some times more than others and there can be a higher possibility of that desire being fulfilled at times, but it’s still looking ahead with a desire that may or may not come to pass.
When we say, “I hope this year is better than last year”, we’re stating a desire for something good but we have no way of knowing if that will be the case. Maybe the year will be worse.
If someone says, “I hope I won’t lose my job.” It’s possibly because they see that things are tough and their job isn’t certain. They have a desire that their job will continue but we’re not sure.
There are a lot of desires that we express in terms of hope.
“I hope the weather stays nice this afternoon.”
“I hope the economy improves soon.”
“I hope the West Coast Eagles can win the premiership this year.”
There is a different kind of hope.
The kind of hope that we find in the Bible is different. When we put our hope in God we are certain of the outcome. It’s not about wishing for something that may or may not happen. God has provided certainty through the gift of his son Jesus.
Biblical hope is not a mere desire for something good to happen. It is a confident expectation and desire for something good in the future. Biblical hope has moral certainty in it. When the word says, “Hope in God!” it does not mean, “Cross your fingers.” It means, to use the words of William Carey, ‘Expect great things from God.”
– John Piper
The Bible tells us that we are born again to a hope that is alive. The hope that we as followers of Jesus have is the hope of eternal life together with our saviour. It’s a hope that keeps us alive, supports us, motivates us and drives us forward.
It’s a hope that invigorates and spurs our souls to action, to patience, to perseverance to the end.
But there’s more to it. It’s a hope that comes through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and it comes with an inheritance. This inheritance is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
– 1 Peter 1:3-9
This kind of hope doesn’t ignore our dark days or the difficulties we face, instead it looks them in the face and says that all those trials cannot compare to what is ahead of us. That’s real hope.
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Peter talks in the Bible about the various trials that test the genuineness of our faith. He talks about our faith being precious but says that it will be tested.
There’s a rejoicing that comes despite circumstances because we have this living hope. It’s more than a desire for things to be different. It’s more than hoping that better times are around the corner. It’s a confidence and an expectation that there’s something better waiting for us.
This kind of living hope works in us despite our surroundings, trials and circumstances.
The passage from Peter wraps up saying, “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
So right in the middle of testing and trials, this living hope, grounded in Jesus Christ, his work on the cross and resurrection, lets us rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.
This living hope bubbles up and overflows because we are certain of the outcome of our faith, the salvation of our souls.
This kind of Biblical hope is so different to the kind of hope the world offers.
If your hopes have been dashed again and again, can I encourage you to cling to a different kind of hope … a living hope.