Sunday, March 22, 2009

Having Hope, Part I of II

Having Hope, Part I of II
Feb 23, 2009
Psalm 42:6 " . . . Put your hope in God . . . "

What is hope? The dictionary might define hope as anticipating a desired future or expecting something with confidence. Then, there is the expression "hope against hope," which means to hope without any basis for expecting fulfillment. These nuances of the word hope carry with them the action of looking forward into the future, which is never concrete or certain. The future is never guaranteed and no one knows what will actually happen tomorrow or ten years from now. Yet hope requires aforethought of a future.

If we don't know what will happen in the future, how do we have hope? This is an important question, as many people feel they are in hopeless situations. The Bible is clear about how being hopeless makes a person feel. The words in scripture say the heart is sick; in our terms today, it would be considered depression. Many, many people are depressed, which might mean they are actually hopeless or their situation seems without hope. They are unsure or insecure about their future, therefore they are without hope.

This insecurity about the future is all very relative, it could be the near future or the far off future, but nonetheless, it is uncertain. ALL futures are uncertain, or have inherent risks in their projected outcomes. When someone has hope, they are obviously more certain of an outcome than someone else. OR, the person who is hopeless cannot be certain of a future that is better than the present. They are hopeless because they are certain nothing will get better in their future.

Even with a definition of hope, how do you have hope? Especially since no one can actually predict any sort of future, how do we have hope when we don't know what is to come. So far, I have created more questions than answers on how to have hope, but that is a good thing. Some people have hope when they really shouldn't, because they are actually hoping in the wrong thing or the wrong future. The Bible says we are to put our hope in God. Putting hope IN God doesn't necessarily put it in a future or a future expectation, but in the person and characteristics of God Almighty, the maker of Heaven and Earth. This changes the definition of hope a little and changes the perspective. Now we are not hoping for a future, we are hoping God. This sentence seems incomplete. Our human nature wants to read the sentence, "We are hoping God will (fill-in-the-blank)." This is not the case. We are hoping God.

The first step in having hope, then, is finding the correct definition. As Christians, the correct definition of hope is anticipating or expecting in God. Period. It is not anticipating or expecting that God will do something, it is simply anticipating and expecting God. That sentence reads awkwardly but it has the ability to change your world. If you are hoping for a specific outcome to your situation in life, you will be sadly mistaken. If you feel hopeless for your current situation in life, that can actually be a good thing. Hope God, not an outcome.

1. What situation in life are you without hope?
2. What is your current definition of hope?
3. How can you now re-define that hopeless situation?

Add. Scriptures for Study: Ps 25:5, Ps 62:5, Prov 13:12, Jer 14:22, I Tim 6:17, 1 Peter 1:21

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