We hope for rain, knowing the drought may continue. We hope our team wins – but we expect that they will lose sometimes. We hope to stay healthy – but keep the medicine cabinet stocked in case we get sick. Our hopes are sometimes dashed by a reality that is not always kind to us. That sort of hope is really more of a wish.
The Hebrew people who wrote the bible used the word “hope” differently. They hoped for things that they confidently expected to happen. They hoped for the cold of Winter to fade. They hoped for the sunrise to end the dark night. They hoped for a Saviour to be born.
The early church shared that sense of hope. Paul wrote, “For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day.” Paul hoped to live in eternity with Jesus. The certainty of that hope inspired him to put up with shipwrecks, beatings, betrayals, and all kinds of hardship. He knew it would all be worth it in the long run.
People today hope for a career breakthrough, a gold lotto win, a change of government, or perhaps retirement to bring them happiness. Disappointment looms when we take inspirational hope from something we should wish for, rather than hope for in the Hebrew sense. So are you wishing or hoping? I heartily recommend reading through the scriptures and taking heart from the promises of God. They are worth putting your hopes in.