You’ve probably heard it said that, as Christians, we have hope. We speak of hope to encourage You’ve probably heard it said that, as Christians, we have hope. We speak of hope to encourage each other during death and sorrow. We sing about hope in worship; “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Not long ago, then-Senator Barack Obama infused the word hope into the popular vernacular during the 2008 presidential race.
Webster’s dictionary defines hope as “a feeling of expectation and a desire for a certain thing to happen.” Still, I’d propose it’s much more than that. As Christians, we talk a lot about hope, but do we truly understand its essence? Or is it just another buzzword we use as part of our “Christian-ese” insider language?
I once read the following phrase in a lesson study, and it stopped me in my tracks: “Expectant hope finds its radical fulfillment in Jesus.” The author’s use of the adverb “radical” stopped me, as it was the perfect use of a word that is often misused. The term “radical” originates from the Latin radicalis, meaning “from the root” or “inherent.” If we substitute this definition into the sentence, it reads: “Expectant hope finds its inherent fulfillment in Jesus.” I don’t know about you, but I find that concept incredibly powerful! The apostle Peter seems to have understood this. He wrote: “…He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:3b, emphasis mine).
For the Christian, hope must transcend our feelings, expectations, and our desires, which are at best finite and limited. Instead, we should place our hope in something infinite, unlimited, external, and outside ourselves. All of us must choose to root ourselves in nothing less than the person of Jesus, described by Peter above as “the living hope.”
Let’s face it; life can be challenging. We can relate to personal loss, unmet expectations, financial difficulties, personal rejection, etc. But, if our understanding of hope stops there, with us and our experience, we’re in real trouble. I’m so glad that Scripture gives us a clear picture of what hope should look like—the “what” is actually a Who. The resurrected Christ has promised to be our Rock when fear and doubt have permeated our lives.
The psalmist wrote: “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you” (Psalm 39:7). For the believer, this is right where our hope should be—in Jesus. As long as He lives (eternally), our hope must rest in Him. He is good. He is trustworthy. He is love. Choose to place your hope in Him today.