Friday, July 10, 2009


Hope. The very pronunciation of the word seems to lend a calmness and peace that drips off the tongue and lands in the soul of the hearer like a drop of clean, cool water on a July day. Whenever the word is uttered, all of us receive, whether we know it, a mental picture corresponding to its meaning. A personification of whatever or whomever we believe to be hope. But what is it really?

Since the past election, “hope” has been quite the buzzword in the United States. Living in the capital of Florida, I often notice pictures of our President with that word in bold letters as I drive around town. It has certainly stirred an emotion in countless minds and hearts around the country.

While I am sure President Obama wishes the best for us, he really has no power to give us a true hope; an everlasting hope. There is only one true Body of Water from which the streams of hope flow. Romans 5:1-5 teaches us that God allows suffering, and suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope, Paul says, does not disappoint. It will not bring us shame. Because it is rooted in the Author of Hope Himself.

Take a moment and try to think of something or someone on this earth that, if your hope was placed upon, wouldn’t at some point bring you shame and disappointment. Could you think of anything? Hmmm…Economy? Have you read the news? Your spouse? They will disappoint. Your career? Will it last? What will happen when it’s over? Nature? Think again, nature is slowly degrading. They will all bring you shame.

Hope, in the Biblical definition is not a “wish” as we so often think of it. The Hebrew words used often in the Bible for hope are yachal which is translated “to expect, to wait for” and qavah which translates “to look for eagerly, to lie in wait for.” Are you getting the idea that this hope is expectant? Don’t miss that! This hope is secure. It is not just a flippant wish.

I love the word picture that this hope brings. My heart smiles as I allow my mind to go back to elementary school. At that age, my dad could do anything (I still secretly believe that). I was always so excited about him coming home everyday. Once in awhile, especially on days when my mom was trying her hardest to love me and I, in 6-year-old eyes, interpreted this as her trying her hardest to hate me, I would wait expectantly for my dad for long periods of time (30 minutes was a LONG time for a 6-year-old). I would go into the bathroom, drag the clothes hamper that was as big as I was, awkwardly position it right under my front window and sit. Watching. Waiting. I knew he was coming home. There was no doubt in my mind. If he said he was on his way, I believed him. That’s what our Heavenly Father is offering us. That kind of hope times more than we can ever imagine, and all He asks is for our faith. For us to believe Him as well as believe IN Him.

So what does hope mean to me? Well, let’s see…The road I’ve walked the past few months and even past year has been a hard one; a rough one. But I am truly grateful for it because God has promised me so much through hope. He has promised grace. He has promised forgiveness. He has promised restoration—and that means the world to me. He means the world to me. If these past few months had been easy, I wouldn’t be where I am: on my face at the foot of the cross begging for God’s sustaining, loving and tender arms to hold me, hug me, gently correct me, and wipe away the tears of the shame that flow from placing my hopes in a fallen world. Without Him, I would have no hope. Now I have hope from not only all that He is, but also in what He will do in the world, in my life. He makes all things new.

I think that Elizabeth Elliot sums up the idea of hope well when she says, “I don’t know, when I’m asking for something here on earth, what is going on in the innermost shrine of Heaven…I am sure of one thing: it is good….The hope we have is living hope….We wait for it, in faith and patience.”

Hope is my buzzword now. I will hold out. I will wait. I will not give up.