Hope looks to the future.
Throughout the Bible, hope is defined as confident expectation. To expect, means to look forward to:
“And [I pray] that the eyes of your heart [the very center and core of your being] may be enlightened [flooded with light by the Holy Spirit], so that you will know and cherish the hope [the divine guarantee, the confident expectation] to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints (God’s people),” Ephesians 1:18
In the midst of difficult situations, it is easy to ruminate on what is and make your home there. But hope believes in a future that is greater, or better, than what is currently seen. It is the possibility of “that which is to come” that hope holds on to. In Jeremiah 29:11, God gives Jeremiah a hope for the future, promising He has a plan for his life:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
The King James Version of this verse replaces hope and future with “an expected end.” Again, the word expect comes up.
Hope is built on faith.
Previously, I did not relate hope to expectation, only to want and desire, with no guarantee, no real expectation, of what was desired actually coming to pass. I equated hope to empty promises. What I had was hope without faith. Studying faith and Hebrew 11:1, I learned that hope is built on a foundation of faith. Hope sees with eyes of faith that which is not yet realized and then confidently expects it’s arrival. That is why faith must first be established. A person without faith, is a person without hope. Hope expects what is not yet perceived by the senses. Hebrew 11:1, the beginning of the chapter of faith, explains this:
“Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].” Hebrews 11:1
After first developing a platform of faith, we then EXPECT (hope) what is needed to come to pass.
Hope is connected to waiting.
In scripture hope is often mentioned in relation to waiting:
“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.” Psalm 130:5-6
It is during the waiting that hope is challenged to manifest. As it says in Romans 8:24, hope that is seen is no hope at all, because no one hopes for what they already have. It’s the time between realizing what we need, and our receiving of it, that we must confidently expect. Hope sits between.
Hope deferred, hope that is prolonged, makes the heart grow sick. Waiting is not always easy. Why can we CONFIDENTLY expect? Because the Word tells us hope in what God has promised does NOT disappoint or put us to shame.
If it tarries, if it’s prolonged, wait for it. You can confidently expect it to come!
“Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5
Hope comes from God.
Romans 15:13 tells us it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to overflow with hope:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
May the God of hope. God is the source of hope, and the Holy Spirit causes us to hope. Hope is no different than most virtues in Christianity (faith, peace, joy, etc.). It is His power that supplies us.
If you’re in need of hope, the first step is to trust, to have a measure of faith. The Word promises that joy, peace, and an overflow of hope will follow!