This week we are continuing to talk about what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13, in the end three things remain: Faith, Hope, and Love. Last week we talked some about Faith, what it means and how we build it up and sustain it. This week, let’s talk about Hope. What is Hope? What does Hope mean for us as Christians? Do we dare to have hope?
As native English speakers, we’re not always aware of how incredibly difficult our language is to grasp for non-native speakers. Many of the words we have have double and triple meanings, many have similar meanings, and some just outright don’t make sense to those whose mother tongue has nice, easy to understand and follow rules. English, on the other hand, uses idioms and has lots of exceptions to rules, silent letters, and it borrows lots of words from other languages.
We have two words that appear to be interchangeable at first glance; Hope and Wish. They are both verbs, that means they are action words. They both express desire for something that isn’t immediately present. From how I understand the difference between Hope and Wish, one desires a possible outcome, while the other desires an outcome that is highly unlikely or impossible.
When we wish for something, it generally has no basis in reality. I wish I were taller. I wish I hadn’t eaten so much. I wish I hadn’t wasted so much money. These all have their desire based on something that isn’t possible. Hope has a basis in a desire that has the possibility of coming to fruition. I hope I can get home before dark. We are hoping for good weather on Sunday. I hope we can be together again soon. Being English, we have those variations that don’t necessarily follow the rules, especially when it comes to Wish. We wish you a Merry Christmas. We wish persons a Happy Birthday. Both of these have a high possibility of coming true.
Now, hope for those who follow Christ is a very special thing indeed. Our hope is based on the knowing of God who has never failed or forsaken us. God made a covenant with God’s people to always be with them. God has followed through on that covenant. God promised to send a messiah, a savior, to save God’s people from their sins. This promise was a long time promise, one that took a very long time to realize. The succeeding generations after this promise was made to King David, continued to look to the future for the culmination of this promise. Their hope was based on this promise. They had never had God make a promise that God didn’t follow through with. So their hope was based in past relationship with the Divine.
As those who follow after Christ, we have already realized the hope of a savior. We know God’s promise was fulfilled in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. As Edward Mote wrote in his hymn, [Our] “hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”
When we express our hope for the future, we are believing in that future God has our best interests at heart. Our hope is rooted in the knowledge God has never left us or forsaken us. Our hope is expressed as an acknowledgement of God’s faithfulness, and a knowing that our future is always going to include the presence of God and God’s love for us.
I hope you and I can lean and depend on God’s unchanging love for us. I hope you and I will come to know and trust God each and every day with all that we go through.
Your fellow traveler on the Way,