As a result of the outcome of the recent presidential election in the United States, the current first Lady, was quoted as saying, “We are feeling what not having hope feels like,” implying that with the upcoming new administration, there would be no hope for our country. So, does our hope depend upon who our president is, or on what political party is currently in control of the House or Senate? While our lives may be effected either positively or negatively, depending upon our world view, our hope is not dependent upon politics. While we, as Christians may experience a temporary reprieve from the anti-Christian bias that has been increasing at a rapid pace over the past several years, that is not the basis of our hope.
It is indeed frightening to contemplate a life without hope. Fortunately, those of us who have put our trust in Jesus Christ have reason to hope, and this is not mere wishful thinking as the world would define hope: “I hope I get the job;” “I hope my team wins;” etc. In the Bible, hope is not a wish, it is a reality, a deep-seated assurance, a fact not yet realized. Genuine hope has its source in God and His promises which we have the confidence that He can and will fulfill. For example, God promised that Abraham and Sarah would have a son in their old age. In Romans, Paul writes: “In hope against hope, he believed, in order that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what He Had promised, He was able also to perform” (Ro. 4: 18-21).
Hope is the spiritual attitude that causes us to look confidently into the future and motivates us to pursue Christlikeness no matter the political culture, no matter the adversity we may face in our circumstances. Hope is central to the believer’s life of faith. It is really the anchor of our life. The author of Hebrews says, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast…” (6:19a). Our hope is not shakable because it is embodied in Christ Himself, who has entered into God’s presence in the heavenly Holy of Holies on our behalf where He serves as our great High Priest, forever interceding before God for us (Heb. 6:19b, 20). As a result, ours is a living hope, as Peter describes in his first epistle: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled, and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God…” (1:3-5a).
Hope is an essential part of the Gospel (“Good News”). The joy of our salvation is that one day we will enter into eternal life in heaven with Christ. Paul wrote to Titus: “in the hope of eternal life, which God who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested…” (v. 2). That hope enables us to persevere. Romans 8 is a great chapter of promise for the believer. Here Paul states that God will fulfill the believer’s hope and bring us to glory: “We ourselves groan within ourselves waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” (verses. 23b-25).
Our hope is objective, not subjective. It is not a secular pipe dream telling you that you can be anything you want to be. You can’t create or control the future—you don’t have the power or the knowledge to do so. You don’t have to concoct some scheme for the future—God has already given you one. The Psalmist wrote: “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him…” (Psa. 43:5). Since God is our hope, it is sure and steadfast, unshakable. When we trust Christ as our Savior, we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, and through the Spirit, Christ lives in us. and will never leave us (Heb. 13:5). We have Christ in us as our “hope of glory: (Col. 1:27). Paul’s prayer for the believers in Rome was: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13). That is my prayer for you as well for this coming year. With God there is hope even in the most seemingly hopeless situation. Hope that has its foundation in God will not crumble under the pressures of life (nor be dependent on what leader is in power!). HOPE is “Heavenly Optimism Prior to Evacuation.”
May you have a joyous new year filled with hope,