by Calven Celliers
Have you ever had one of those conversations that restlessly lingers in the back of your mind? I had a conversation like that with a member of our congregation some time ago on the topic of hope. He was sharing with me how in his opinion hope was nothing more than wishful thinking, and was therefore something he didn’t assign much weight. That conversation left me feeling frustrated, probably because I didn’t have the answers I perceived I needed to convince my friend otherwise, and from time to time I’ve revisited that conversation in my mind, thinking about and trying to resolve the whole issue for myself.
Recently I read an online article written by author and Bible teacher Clarence Haynes, on the topic of hope, and I thought I’d love to share some of his insights with all of you as we navigate our way through a very trying and difficult time in world history. Perhaps there are many who, like my brother in Christ, have given up on hope. Well, if that’s you, then I pray this blog post might spark renewed hope, because I honestly do believe that one of the greatest gifts God has given us as His children is hope. After all, that is what His promises are designed to do – inspire hope. They give us the ability to look at any situation and to know that regardless of how it may appear God is going to come through. This is the essence of what hope is.
Don’t get me wrong, the challenges of life can sometimes seem overwhelming. I know because I have faced those challenges just like any of you have. When these challenges attack, the thing they often come after is your hope. They try to move you from hope to despair, but that doesn’t have to be the case. My desire today is that we may all walk in the victory that comes from hope.
The general consensus from all dictionary definitions is that hope is a feeling of expectation, a desire or wish for a certain thing to happen. The biblical definition, however, takes it one step further. Hope is an expectation with certainty that God will do what he has said. Can you see the difference? One is as my brother in Christ said, wishful thinking, but the other is a certainty or guarantee!
The author of Hebrews hit this exact nail on the head when he penned the following verse:
“1Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1NIV)
You cannot have hope unless it is tied together with faith. In essence, you have hope because you have faith and you have faith because you have hope. However, you don’t just have faith in faith or hope in hope, there is no real value in that. What matters most is the object of your faith and hope – that makes all the difference. What separates the basic definition of hope and the biblical definition of hope is God. Your hope should be based on the fact of who God is and nothing else. If God is not the object of your hope then you don’t have true biblical hope because the certainty has been removed. Without that, your hope simply reverts back to a wish.
If God has said it, you can trust His promise because it is impossible for God to lie. This trust therefore becomes an anchor for the soul. Anchors are designed to keep you steady so that you will not be moved. This anchor, that it is impossible for God to lie, is the foundation for your certainty and the backbone for your hope. It is the reason that in spite of what you see; in spite of what is going on; in spite of how dire the situation looks; you can have hope today!
Of course, this doesn’t guarantee that your situation will change immediately but the beauty of hope is that even if the situation remains, so does your hope. Because of hope you have confidence knowing God will respond and come through on your behalf. You can be certain that what He says is what He will do.
Your entire walk as a believer is based on hope (Who God is). Everything you do as a follower of Christ flows from hope. If you remove the element of hope then you will discover that your joy, your enthusiasm, your peace, your focus, your motivation, everything attached to your walk with God will be removed with it. That is why you cannot lose hope. It is also why one of the weapons of Satan is to attack your hope. Think of all the words that are the opposite of hope. Fear, despair, doubt, uncertainty. None of these words inspire and none of these words bring the joy and peace that hope in God brings. That’s why you must fight for it at all costs.
I want you to know today that God is the God of hope, Christ is the hope of Glory and the Holy Spirit is the one who births hope in you. God does not want you to ever lose hope, and what’s more, you don’t have to. Keep your trust in the One who is faithful because He will not let you down.
God bless you,