The word “hope” disturbs me, even though it is one of the big three in our Christian vocabulary…the other two being faith and love. I can’t seem to wrap my mind around it. At times I don’t feel comfortable around this particular word in the real world of terrorists, illness, and death.
We hope to see the sunny side of life and it rains 40 days and nights. We hope to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but someone erases the rainbow. We hope for the best, knock on wood, and the dominoes all fall down on our hope.
Let’s try to wrap our mind around hope with a new definition …hope is a direction to walk. Before we take off on this idea, and because of the silent shyness produced by this word, maybe we need to look at what hope is not. .
HOPE IS NOT WHISHFUL THINKING: Hope is being aware God’s presence in whatever is overwhelming us. Hope to a Christian can only be authentic as it is seen moving in the right direction and heard singing: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness…On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” This hope is given to us as gift and provides us with confidence in all the bottomless pits of our life.
HOPE IS NOT YEARNING FOR GOOD TO JUST HAPPEN: Bad times lead us to approach God and ask Him for a dramatic display of His power. Yet, winning teams do not run out on the fields or courts and just yearn for something dramatic to happen. They pay the price to win. Neither do real Christians run out and hope to win. They, too, pay the price. That price is our bulldog obedience and an unshakable trust in our Lord and his sticking with us. It is confidence that knows he will never bail out of us.
HOPE IS NOT CONFIDNECE IN OURSELVES: Only as we get to know God, will this by-product of hope be available to us. His word tells us, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not evil to give you a future and a hope."
HOPE IS NOT BEING A COCK-EYED OPTIMIST: Hope is resolving to find joy in the Lord even when circumstances are at their worst. Our part is this hope relationship is to walk in the right direction. Then to step up the pace and go for it as we move on to new understanding, new faith, new hope, and new action.
I now have a better understanding about hope. Again, if you desire hopeful action in your life the starting place is to see hope as the right direction to follow in:
“Trusting God in Your Tough Times”
“When you are Angry with God”
“Understanding Why God Allows Suffering”
“Erasing the Picture of a God who Never Smiles”
“Breaking the Grip of Destructive Emotions”
Hopefully, these thoughts will help us to stop thinking about hope as a passive ingredient in our life and see it as an active and alive part of our faith and love. Always remembering the greatest of these is love (a place to stand), founded in our faith (a place to rest) and based on our hope (a direction to walk) as we follow the plan God has in mind for us.
Jesus was the greatest example of a person of hope who followed God’s plan for his life. He makes this idea of hope so simple for me when he says to me, “Billie, walk with me; follow me even as I followed my Father’s directions. Be sure you are aware of this: the walk of hope may also lead you to a cross."
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