The Oxford dictionary defines hope as “expectation and desire”.
For us who live in the West, our expectations and desires are often focused on having much, living long and doing what we choose. Many hope to find meaning in a good education, a well paying job, a small family and a happy retirement. What shall I say for the many in other lands where such desires are unrealistic?
What does the Bible point to as the substance of hope? In the Bible, ‘hope’ is not wishing for things we want. Bible ‘hope’ is directed by the promises of God. This is not a matter of misusing texts to claim what we want, but rather claiming the promises, so as to fulfill what God wants for us.
“God who gives hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in HIM. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit” (NLT)
This verse is the present objective of the Gospel as outlined in the letter to the Romans – read it again and see how positive is the purpose of God for you.
“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen” (NLT)
Following this verse comes the long list of people who received promises from God. They believed God and waited to see God fulfil His word. Some saw it in their life-time. Others saw it as a reward in the life to come.
“The hope laid up for you in Heaven.....”
“Waiting for the blessed hope ...the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ..”
1 Peter 1:3
“Born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
1 Timothy 1:1
“Christ Jesus our hope”
This final quote gives meaning and purpose in this life as well as the bright hope for our eternal future.