Cubs win! Cubs win! For years and years and years, Cub fans hoped their beloved team would win a World Series, and we finally saw it happen last fall! The joy! The ecstasy! Our beloved Cubbies finally overcame the Billy Goat’s curse. People danced in the streets, hugging one another as tears of joy ran down their faces. What a glorious time it was!
Actually, this is a sign of what hope isn’t. It isn’t wishing for your favorite team to win the World Series. It is not a hope or wishing for what we cannot have (for example, a voice like Frank Sinatra or Celine Dion when we are tone deaf or being the winner among hundreds in a hog calling contest). It is not hoping to be someone God did not design for you to be.
It is also not wishing and hoping or expecting something from our family members that they cannot give. How can we, in our brokenness, expect what they cannot give in their brokenness? Nor is hope hungering and thirsting for the things that can never truly satisfy our worldly wants and desires.
So, is hope an illusion? No, but that hope I just described will leave us empty inside. A Christian’s definition of hope is grounded in the Word of God. Hebrews 6:19 states, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” We have the hope of God’s promises, which are absolutely trustworthy! Our hope in Christ guarantees our safety because we are moored to God himself. Not a prize we have won or a fleeting career on stage or a trophy that is nothing more than a symbol of a passing fancy.
We Christians have been given many gifts, and the gift of hope shows itself throughout Scripture. We have the hope of never being abandoned (Acts 2:26); of hoping patiently for what we do not yet have (Romans 8:25); the hope that if God is with us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31). We have hope because Christ was raised from the dead, and our preaching and faith is not useless. First Thessalonians 4:16-18 reminds us that “we know that the Lord Himself will come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise…and then those alive in Christ…”
As Christian believers, we place our hope in the living God, the Savior of all men (1 Timothy 4:10). Christ Jesus is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1), and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:2). We have hope in God, the hope of the resurrection--true biblical hope. A God of hope who fills us with all joy and peace as we place our trust in him, so that we may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).
The next time you place your hopes on a sports team or politician or anything else that's bound to this earth, remember that they are fleeting. For believers, to hope and have faith in God is eternal and lasting. It brings great peace and a joy that surpasses all understanding.
Keep your hope in what really matters, God himself.