Few things in life are more distressing than to stand either as friends or with a family when a loved one is extremely ill or has been in a horrible accident and the doctor is trying to explain to the family in the kindest and clearest way possible just how bad the situation really is. It is quite common in those settings, to have someone from the family speak up to the doctor with the question, “Is there any hope?” I’ve watched different doctors react in all kinds of ways when that question is asked. Some have dropped their head to say, “I don’t know. That is really in God’s hands.” Others have bluntly said, “I don’t see any way for there to be.” I remember one doctor saying to the family, “They are alive now and we are doing all we can, but you need to pray to God for more help than we can bring. Why don’t we pray right now?” and he led us in prayer for the family.
One of the saddest things that can ever happen in life is when people give up hope. It’s tragic when a family gives up all hope that a child is going to change who has headed down the road of addiction and nothing seems to be working to turn them around. Even in a country it is heart breaking to reach the point when people lose hope that things will ever get better than they are right now.
The truth is hope is what keeps up moving and believing that there is going to be some better situation. Hope is an equal mixture of desire and expectation. It isn’t wishful thinking or just a leap in the dark. It is what gives us assurance or confidence that things are going to improve. In Romans 8:22-25 Paul laid out one of the great statements of all time about hope. “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we are saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
Often in Paul’s writing he ties hope with faith and love and in Colossians 1 declares that our faith in Jesus Christ and love for all God’s holy people is built on the hope we have of eternal life in Christ. Peter said our hope is laid up for us in heaven from which we look for a savior who will change our lowly bodies so they can be fashioned like his glorious body.
Our hope for a better world, a better fuller life, one that isn’t hindered by death, disease, or challenges in the hope laid up in heaven. When we place our hope on the things of this world, we face the sad reality that they are in a constant state of change and that many of the things we depend on to be there for us turn out to be gone when they are needed most.
Look at Paul’s words to Titus in chapter 3:3-8 that seem to size up the whole topic of hope. “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and the renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so then, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.”
It’s pretty common to have people ask if one is a positive or negative thinker, I prefer to think of myself as a hopeful thinker that sees hope for the world, but knows that the ultimate hope for us all isn’t found in this life but the one to come when Jesus returns and we have a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness will dwell and that we can be part of that world, living in the loving presence of God all the time.