This Christmas season, I’ve been thinking a lot about hope.
I hope for a lot of things in just a single day.
I hope to pass my accounting quiz.
I hope to make it to work on time in rush hour traffic.
I hope to help run a successful Wyldlife club every Thursday.
I hope for a lot of long-term things, as well.
I hope to be successful in whatever I choose to pursue.
I hope to have a husband and a family.
I hope to travel through Europe.
I know I hope for a lot of things, and I’m sure you do too. This time of year especially, the world is hoping for something… whether that be good news, a family member to return home, or simply for Christmas itself. We spend a lot of time consumed by waiting, praying, and hoping for things to happen in our lives, and often become disappointed when they don’t happen just the way we plan.
After thinking about hope, I’ve come to this conclusion:
I think that we blur the lines between our HOPES and our HOPE, meaning what we are hoping for, versus who we are hoping in.
So, first things first… what is hope?
The dictionary says that:
1.) hope (n.) “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best”
2.) hope (n.) “a person or thing in which expectations are centered”
Definition 1 depicts hope as a desire, or a want for the best case scenario to occur.
Definition 2 depicts hope as a placement of trust for the outcome of all circumstances in one, single thing.
Both definitions explain hope, yes, but which hope is Biblical, fruitful, and fulfilling?
The Bible says that:
“His [Jesus’s] name will be the HOPE of all the world” (Matt. 12:21)
“And the Scriptures give us HOPE and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled” (Rom. 15:4)
“We who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the HOPE that lies before us. This HOPE is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls” (Heb. 6:18-19).
Hope is not a thing. It’s not a wish, it’s not a magic genie, and it’s not something that should be sought after frivolously.
Hope is person, and that person is Jesus. It is found when we seek Him, pursue Him, and tether ourselves to His love and goodness.
When we are walking side by side with Jesus, our hopes begin to align with His plan for us.
We realize that many of our personal hopes have become obsolete, and our goals and desires are more closely aligned not with what we thought we once wanted, but with who God created us to be.
I still hope for things (like I listed above) and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. We all hope for things. In fact, the Bible is filled with people who hoped for things.
Abraham and Sarah hoped for a child.
Moses hoped Pharaoh would let his people go.
Ruth hoped for Boaz to be her kinsman redeemer.
David hoped for better, less desolate circumstances.
Mary and Martha hoped Jesus would heal Lazarus.
Paul hoped to be released from prison to continue sharing the Gospel.
Each person on planet earth has hopes and dreams and things they want out of life. But very few people have hope placed in something beyond these goals.
The difference between HOPES and HOPE is this: Our HOPES become possible when our HOPE is in Jesus.
The stories we read in the Bible are about REAL people who had real hopes and dreams, not much different from us. Even though some took time and unlikely circumstances, their hopes became reality because they placed their hope in Christ, and not the things they were hoping for. When the things we hope for align with the One who our hope is in, incredible things begin to happen. Eyes are opened, miracles occur, and lives are changed.
I know that this Christmas season, you are hoping for something, and I want to assure you that that’s okay. But maybe it’s time to shift your focus from what your hoping for, to Who your hoping in. Perhaps your hope will be affirmed, or maybe your focus will be re-directed and your heart will be fulfilled once again.
But one thing is for certain…
True HOPE in Jesus will never leave us dry or unsatisfied, because God can be trusted to keep His promises.
He is good.