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HOPE!


Hope is described as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” Hope looks to the future and causes one to be fully optimistic that there will actually be positive outcomes to satisfy expectations. Many years ago God said to the prophet Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). Note carefully “to give you a future and a hope.” It was true then and it is certainly true today. Hope must involve God because God can be trusted to keep His word. Furthermore, it is God in whom we live, and move and have our being.

The Christian life centers around hope, and hope to the end. And, the scripture points out “in hope we have been saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:24-25). These verses show us that we are ‘saved in hope,' because the great benefits of our salvation did not just occur the moment we accepted Christ as Savior. But in the hope we lift our wishful longing eyes, waiting to see the day dawns and the shadows flee away. And finally, our deliverance from the presence of sin, death, pain, sorrow, and suffering has come.

There is absolutely no doubt we live in a hopeless world. The reason is that many people exist only for the time present with a negative, ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude toward their future. In his devotional ‘Today Can Be Different,’ Dr. Harold J. Sala wrote, “Some time ago a cartoon appeared in a magazine depicting a couple sitting at a kitchen table. Dishes were piled to the ceiling. Everything had the appearance of a month’s neglect. Underneath was the caption, “We ain’t interested in nothing.” Dr. Sala went on to say, “Life offers nothing to the casual observer too disinterested to be a participant.” This is absolutely true.

Why then does a person who trusted Jesus Christ as Savior has so much hope in a hopeless, sinful, downtrodden world? The answer is simply because that person has hope in the Sovereign God of the universe. The Bible teaches us ‘that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18). This is exactly why the Christian's hope is “an anchor for his soul” and rises above the world, ultimately placing it in the God of heaven.

The Christian lives with spiritual values of God in mind. It is not surprising that the Apostle Paul wrote the following to the Roman christians of his time, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). The same is applicable to us today. In dealing with the doctrine of” bodily resurrection,” Paul also wrote: “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19). This, indeed, is telling us that our ‘hope in Christ’ is not confined to our earthly life, but rather reaches way beyond this earthly, temporal scene. Each believer finds hope, joy, peace, goodness, and fulfillment in their Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself.

The question has been asked, is there a difference between faith and hope, or are they the same? Faith and hope are definitely connected, however, with some difference. Paul concludes the 9th chapter of 1st Corinthians 13, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” In explaining what faith is, the writer to the Hebrews says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Suffice it to say that faith and hope complement each other, especially as our hope is squarely based on our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

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