The Language of Hope
We constantly speak in hope language:
“I hope my company does well.”
“I hope he isn’t mad at me.”
“I hope God really does answer prayer.”
“I sure hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow.’
“I hope this sickness isn’t something serious.”
If you are a human being, you hope. You attach your security, your sense of peace and rest to something every day. The question is not whether you hope, but what holds your hope. You and I are on a constant quest for hope. We all want a reason to get up in the morning and motivation to continue. Here are some things you have to know about hope:
1. You hope in something.
You could argue that the life of a human being is propelled by hope. From the little momentary hope of the young child for food or a toy to the profound hope of the young adult for meaning and purpose, we all hope. We all place our hope in someone or something, and we ask that person or that thing to deliver something to us. You’re always reaching for hope and preaching to yourself the validity of what you reach for. What are you placing your hope in right now?
2. What you place your hope in will set the direction of your life.
Whether you know it or not, your life path is directed by hope. Whether it’s hope in a philosophy, a person, a dream, a location, or whatever, your life will be shaped by what you place your hope in. Your hope shapes the way you live. Your hope causes you to make the decisions that you make. A lack of hope causes you to feel stuck and de-motivated. Confident hope makes you decisive and courageous. Wobbly hope makes you timid and indecisive. Hope is not just something you do with your brain. You always live your hope in some way.
3. Hope always includes an expectation and an object.
I am hoping for something and hoping that someone or something will deliver it.
4. Hope, to be hope, has to fix what is broken.
Hope that does not address your needs isn’t very hopeful. You place your hope in your mechanic only if he has the ability to fix what’s broken on your car.
5. Most of our hopes disappoint us.
We all do it. We place our hope in things in this fallen world that simply can’t deliver. Your spouse can’t make you happy. Your job won’t make you content. Your possessions can’t satisfy your heart. Your physical health won’t give you inner peace. Your friends can’t give you meaning and purpose. When our hopes disappoint us, it is a sign that we’ve put our hopes in the wrong things.
6. There are only two places to look for hope.
The theology of hope is quite simple. There are only two places to put your hope. You rest the hope of your life in the hands of the Creator or you look to the creation for hope.
7. Hope in God is sure hope.
When you hope in the Lord, you not only hope in the One who created and controls the universe, but also in One who is glorious in grace and abounding in love. Now, that’s hope that is well placed and will never disappoint. Hope is a person, and his name is Jesus!
The Gospel Truth
Here is the radical truth of the gospel. Hope is not a situation. Hope is not a location. Hope is not a possession. Hope is not an experience. Hope is more than an insight or a truism. Hope is a person, and his name is Jesus! He comes to you and makes a commitment of hope: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).
Now, there’s hope. You have something profoundly deeper to hold on to than the hope that people will be nice to you, that your job will work out, that you will make good choices when tempted, that you’ll be smart enough to make good decisions, that you’ll be able to avoid poverty or sickness, or that you’ll have a good place to live and enough to eat. No, this is eternal and deeply personal hope. It rests in the truth that Jesus has wrapped his powerful arms around you and he will never, ever let you go. If nothing you envisioned ever works out and all the bad things that you’ve dreaded come your way, you still have hope, because he is with you in power and grace.