“I hope I get an ‘A’ on that test!” “I hope we can go to ___ for vacation.” “I hope my parents will give me…” “I hope the teachers don’t give us too much homework this weekend.” “Hopefully, I’ll be able to get this all finished in time.”
The word hope is a word that seems to be used and felt quite often, but what do we mean by hope, and what does the Bible mean by it? Write down your own ideas about what you think this word means.
Chances are, whatever you wrote down, you’re probably at least partly correct. Dictionaries will give you anywhere from at least 3-6 definitions for this word. The definition I’m going to use for this next part is not the meaning I used for the above examples. That meaning had more to do with wanting and wishing for something. The definition I’m going to use now is:
hope: n; a confident desire – a feeling that something you want and wish for is very likely to happen
Have you ever looked forward to something – really, really looked forward to it: a vacation, a special event such as a sleepover or sporting event, an acceptance letter from the university you applied to, a special smile from that girl or guy you liked or a chance to see and/or spend time with him/her? Do you remember that feeling as the time grew closer, perhaps wondering a little if the expected event would actually happen, but not truly doubting that it would?
Now, my apologies in advance, but think of all those wonderful, exciting, free-flowing feelings, and imagine that the expected event did not take place (or think of a time when it didn’t), and you are suddenly flung forcefully down from your place high up in the clouds (yep, ouch!).
It’s the difference between the presence and absence of hope.
Read Proverbs 13:12. What does it say about hope?
Life in this world unfortunately disappoints us sometimes. The incredible, amazing good news is that God has promised that hope in Him will NEVER disappoint us!
Read (at least some of) the following scriptures. Take notes about/draw pictures/think about what stands out to you about what they say about hope.
Psalm 28:7; Psalm 46:1-3; Proverbs 23:18; Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 5: 2-7, 8:23-25, 15:13; Galations 5:5; Philippians 1:19-21; I Timothy 1:1, 4:10; Titus 1:1-2, 2:11-14, 3:4-7; Hebrews 11:1,7; I Peter 1:3; I John 3:2-3;
Think again about the times you have looked forward to/felt hopeful about something and the times you haven’t. How have you treated other people when you’ve felt hopeful? How have you treated them when you’ve been disappointed? Is there a difference? How can having hope in God change the way we live?