A few weeks ago Hayley spoke on “what is hope?” She touched on Abraham and Sarah’s story about God’s promise to give them a child, even at a ridiculously old age, and that hope – Biblical Hope – is more than just wishing for something good to happen. It’s trusting in God’s word.
There’s a difference between placing our hope in natural, or human things, and placing our hope in God, however I think there are some very strong similarities.
I’ve been thinking about this some more since Hayley spoke a few weeks back and I believe hope exists because “x” or something like “x” has happened before. So even the wishful thinking of “I hope it doesn’t rain today,” or “I hope my team wins the big game” is still rooted in a hope because we hold out for what we know is actually possible, even when it seems impossible, because the rain has held off when the forecast said otherwise and so and so’s wedding went off without a hitch, and my team has come back from what seemed like an insurmountable deficit to pull off an amazing win before. These things happened once before so we believe, and hold out in hope that they will happen again.
The same is applied to our Christian faith. God has fulfilled his promises before and so our hope is built in those promises.
A couple who tries hard to conceive a child but just can’t can be devastating. I know. That was us before Emmy. But even when it looked hopeless (and if you haven’t heard my testimony on this before, there was a zero percent chance that we could conceive naturally, which was weird because we’d had a couple miscarriages already) we had hope because we know stories like Sarah and Abraham, and stories much more recent as well, of course.
But because we know that in impossible cases, such as ours, the impossible has happened. Therefore we always have hope to rely on.
The same goes for forgiveness of sins and life eternal.
Jesus died to forgive the world their sins. And after he died he gave us all hope that what he said about salvation was, in fact, true because he rose again from the grave, proving he is the Son of God and giving us eternal hope in all that he said and did.
But before that happened there was no hope. Even those who saw Jesus resurrect Lazarus (which should have been enough to give them all the hope in the world for Jesus) didn’t have hope that he, himself, would rise from the dead. But when he did he established hope!
Before God acted – no hope. After God acted – established hope
And this ties to Abraham and Sarah as well. They had no hope that they’d have a child because no one that old had ever done so in the past. But they did have some hope, or at least Abraham did (Sarah laughed because she thought the idea was utterly impossible and hilarious to believe) because God had come through on a promise before. God spoke to Abraham and asked him to trust him and to take his family and leave their home land and wander until God said stop, because it would be there that God would establish Abraham to be a great man with a great lineage.
Well, God led him to the place so Abraham knew he could trust God, and therefore had hope that the second promise would eventually come true. But, like I said, before it actually did, even up to the day Sarah found out she was pregnant, Sarah had no hope, and I believe Abraham’s was wavering. However, since it DID happen, hope exists.
Because hope is built on God’s promises. Our hope in salvation rests in Jesus who died and rose again. Our hope to see the Kingdom on Earth also rests in Jesus’ promises and in the visions of John, and Paul because they saw a glimpse of the future.
Before God acts – no hope. After God acts – established hope.
We can hope in human things like a team coming back against all odds to win a big game, or that the office jerk is actually in a good mood today. We can hope in those things because they’ve happened before as well, but they’re never as trustworthy as the hope we have in Christ Jesus.
Unless, of course, God is the reason my team won that game…??!?!?!
Things that make you go, ‘hmmm?’