HOPE – Biblical or Natural???

1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  NKJV

The Bible deals with Hope in many passages and many ways. It is powerful and encouraging.  However, there are contrasts of Hope in the spiritual and natural realms.  We have all heard someone say, “Well, we can only hope,” or “All we can do now is hope.”  Those are statements of despair, not faith.  Those are resignations to what the natural would call inevitable.  It is aligning the mind and heart with the report or prognosis of failure and destruction. 

I’ve had Christians tell me, after prayer, “I’m hoping,” or “I hope so.”  What I hear in those situations is the use of the word Hope in a defeatist sense and it breaks my heart.  I know the experience.  I know what it is to feel hopeless and not see a way out of the situation.  I know what it is to face a diagnosis that is anything but positive and then have everything that transpires validate the sentence of death or destruction.  I know what it is to be overcome with a sense of Hopelessness.  So, please understand I am not speaking condemnation to anyone who is battling and struggling with Hope or the lack thereof.  I hope to offer a higher Hope than that the world affords.

The Definition of Hope from man’s perspective is – A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.  A feeling of trust.  Merriam-Webster defines it as – to cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen or be true.  To desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment. To expect with confidence. 

But what does the Bible say about Hope?  What is Bible Hope?  From the text passage, it is clear, that Hope has Faith, but Hope is not Faith, nor is it Love.  It is a separate condition and that makes it important for us to understand and consider.  I believe that Hope is a foundational part of Faith and faith is a foundational part of Hope.  They are inextricably linked and should be viable elements in the Christian’s thoughts and prayers. 

Some consider Hope nothing more than wishy-washy unsure optimism and wishful thinking.  A prevalent mentality in today’s world is that Hope is “to wish for, to expect, but without certainty of the fulfillment; to desire very much but with no real assurance of getting the desire.”  In the Bible Hope means, “a strong and confident expectation.”  In that sense, we would almost say it is Faith for the Hebrews 11 definition of Faith is, “…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  I suggest to you that Hope is the subject of Faith, and it is rooted in Expectation!  It is rooted and grounded upon God’s Word, God’s Promises, and God’s Covenant!

Romans 8:24-25 tells us that it is in Hope that we are saved…  It further states that hope that is seen is not hope because you do not hope for what you have you hope for what is not now evident.  You hope for that which you expectantly await.  You have a need, like healing, and you hope for a full recovery.  If you are well, you are not Hoping for Healing but if you are sick hope comes into play.  Therefore, hope is a product of need and upon entering into a condition of need and you allow expectation to arise in your heart Hope Comes Alive!

The apostle Paul made an incredible statement regarding Abraham in Romans 4.  Paul related the account of Abraham when God had given him the promise of a son, born of Sarah, his treasured wife. God said, “Abraham, I have made you the father of many nations…”  Sarah was barren and yet God said you are going to be the father of many nations.  God did not say, “I’m going to make you, but I have made you…” 

Paul then said, “God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did…”  It is there in that condition that Paul says of Abraham that he, “contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations.”  The KJV renders it, “Who against hope believed in hope…” 

I believe that we better understand this declaration and understanding of Abraham’s situation is that when the natural conditions suggest it was impossible, he refused to allow human reason to define his condition and situation.  When God gave Abraham the promise, he rejected human reason as a definition or explanation or justification for not receiving but he clung to the Promise of God and considered it done! 

He heard, “I have made,” not “I will make.”  He heard God’s declaration and hoped even when everything in him said, “This is Hopeless.”  The end of that hope was Isaac and the fulfillment of God’s Promise. The end of that was that God looked at Abraham’s hope and saw faith and obedience and the Bible says it was imputed to him for righteousness. 

As we stand today, many of us are facing situations and conditions that man says are Hopeless but like Abraham, we need to align our words, our minds, our hearts, and our actions with God’s Promises and His Word.  We are to Hope not as the world hopes but with Expectation!

God, bless you as you enjoy this day in Jesus!

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