Column: Necessary hope

0

“We have this hope as an anchor …” – Hebrews 6:19

“Hope” the verb indirectly suggests fear and doubt about pending outcomes.

“Hope” the noun is the forthright acceptance of God’s truth.

As action, hope the verb generally designates worldly reservation, akin to wishing, supposing, wanting, desiring, or even coveting. We hope our ball team wins the game, we’d like to think the best of people, it’d be nice to get that raise, “Why can’t we all just get along?” and “Wow, that sure is a nice car!” Even praying for healing – for ourselves or others – probably expresses more of a temporal wish (relief from pain and inconvenience) than assured, faith-filled forfeiture to God’s eternal will.

That hope, the noun identifying man’s faithful, intellectual, God-ordained understanding of the fact of God’s glory, love, eternity and Creation, is necessary hope. It is far larger than merely wishing to dodge the discomforts, disappointments and dismay of this fallen world.

The word “hope” appears more times in the book of Job than anywhere else in the Bible except for Psalms. Ironically, “hope” goes unmentioned in the Gospels.

Job, the Old Testament book depicting Satan’s mischief, worldly misery, man’s doubt, interpersonal frustration and God’s confident righteousness, exposes temporal human hope – the verb – as inadequate in this fallen world. Divine hope – the noun – creates a personal, peace-bestowing glow when shared with the eternal being of God.

The Psalms offer great hymns and prayers of the faithful, the scared, the downtrodden, the exultant, the penitent, and most especially – overarchingly – the hopeful who desire to see God’s face, know God’s presence, and share God’s love. The psalmists pray – they hope – for a day when God’s righteousness will be apparent.

Turns out, that day of hope wasn’t what anyone was expecting.

Certainly, hope arrives in the Gospels as God’s supreme gift to mankind, but in the humble, loving, shrewd, unwavering, truth-teaching, parable-spouting, miracle-working person of Jesus Christ. Fully God and fully man, Christ is our hope. Many souls miss that Godly message because Jesus isn’t the “fixer” we hoped for, humility isn’t what we wanted, and loving our enemies isn’t what we had in mind.

Fallen man’s typical expression of hope is focused desperation; a plea for favor. Godly, broadband hope anchors itself in the gift of Jesus Christ: eternity with God.

While the Gospels reveal the perfect image of God’s glory in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:3), Paul describes God’s gift of hope to the faithful human intellect, a gift that facilitates and illuminates God’s eternal plan: the Glory-to-come of faithful believers.

In the here and now, we fear, we doubt.

Life in Christ, that’s what hope’s really about.

Walters (rlwcom@aol.com) doesn’t “hope it’s true;” he’s thankful for truth.

Share.