What comes to mind when I say the word, “HOPE”? Have you ever met a person that was downright delusional in what they wished for and yet they called it hope? Or are you inclined to be like my wife and I, who tend to be afraid of disappointment so can at times forbid our hearts from believing the best, lest we be let down.
Let’s start by distinguishing between ‘worldly hope’ and ‘Biblical hope’. Worldly hope is a ‘cross your fingers’, ‘roll the dice’, “I HOPE this all works out” type of mindset, whereas, a biblical view of HOPE is “A CONFIDENT EXPECTATION OF GOOD”.
To illustrate, I played for 2 different NHL hockey teams: the Philadelphia Flyers and the Hartford Whalers. Both “hoped” to win every game, but those hopes were worlds apart. Philly was a great team and expected to win, while Hartford thought there was a chance we could win. Two very different mindsets, outlooks and results. God wants you confident in your future expectation for good, your hope
The Apostle Paul gives us great insight how to keep our hope up in 2018: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13)
1) HOPE IS ROOTED IN GOD:
Have you ever taken in large doses of daily news and found you were getting depressed or falling into despair? Or have you ever seen one of those commercials with starving children, or abused animals (cue the Sarah McLachlan music) and you caught yourself instinctively flipping the channel because you didn’t want to see that stuff.
We can flip the channel, but God can’t. He sees all the brokenness and evil that occurs daily! How does God Himself not grow depressed or fall into despair? Besides the fact that He’s omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent (that subject is for another blog). He’s the God of Hope. God knows and expects that in the end He’ll bring good, He’ll redeem, He’ll wipe every tear from our eyes and all sad things will become untrue.
At the center of our faith is a bloody cross and the Son of God dies. The gospel of Luke records the sky turning black at noon; Matthew records the earth shaking; Mark quotes the Roman centurion declaring “we killed the Son of God”; and John records Mary, the Mother of Jesus watching her firstborn son die a horrific death. It doesn’t get any darker, and yet, we know Sunday is coming. In God Hope springs eternal.
2) GOD WILL FILL YOU WITH JOY AND PEACE – YOU MAINTAIN IT
Joy and peace are the fuel for our hope! God provides both joy, which is our strength (Nehemiah 9:10) and peace which passes understanding (Philippians 4:7) as we abide in Him (John 15:4). Providing joy and peace is God’s job, but maintaining joy and peace is your job! So many of the commands in God’s word are an appeal to sustain what God has provided:
- “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” Colossians 3:2
- “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me-practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
- “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
3) HOPE WILL ABOUND
The promise from God is a hope that abounds. The word implies more than enough, enough to share, a hope that spills over onto others. This is why we believe so strongly in Christian community, church attendance, and Small groups.
As you come before the God of Hope and do life with the people of Hope, the hope of God becomes contagious and infectious! Hope will spring forth in your life. So get your Hopes up in 2018!