This is the second post in a series on I'm writing on Love, Joy, and Hope. If you missed the first one, you can catch it here. I decided to tackle Hope this week because it's an emotion I'm wrestling with right now. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we finally started our house hunt this week. Hallelujah, Praise baby Jesus - It's felt like a long time coming, since we sold our Houston home back in April. Now that we're really searching, I vacillate between hope that our new place is just around the corner and fear that we can't really afford anything that is the right size, in the right school zone, close enough to the office, near our favorite amenities, or in a safe enough neighborhood. I'm hopeful, then I'm despairing, in a cycle all day. But, when I think about Hope, one of the verses that comes to mind is 'But as for me, I will always have Hope; I will praise you more and more" (Psalm 71:14). That's a lofty claim - that the writer will always have Hope. Not usually have hope. Not occasionally have hope . Always. And this claim is even more startling in light of the circumstances that David was in when he wrote this - it's believed he wrote this during his son Absalom's rebellion again him for the throne. He's old - a beloved son has betrayed him - and he's still hopeful? There must be more to Hope than a feeling.
Another pieces of evidence that Hope is more than a feeling can be found in Romans 5:4, where Hope is listed as a characteristic that develops in us through our correct handling of life's trials. You could even say that true hope is most often born in suffering. For an emotion like Hope to be paired with suffering doesn't make sense - especially if Hope is something that is developed instead of simply felt. There must be something more to Hope.
I think the last piece here is that Hope isn't something that stands alone. Think about it: we don't just have hope. We have Hope for something. We have Hope in something. And I think this is the defining characteristic of Christian Hope that makes it more than a feeling - that the reality in which we place our Hope is unchanging and unfaltering. Our Hope is in the Lord. Our Hope is that He will help and protect us (Psalm 33:20), that He will fulfill His promises (Psalm 119) as He has always done and promises to continue to do (Hebrews 6). Our Hope is in Jesus, who not only died to be the final sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16) but rose again and continues to defend, restore, and redeem us (1 Peter 1:3-5). That is why our Hope is so much more than a feeling - it is a firmly founded belief in the person of Jesus, the actions He's taken on our behalf, and His continued goodness towards us.
Perhaps that's why this is one of my favorite verses - it doesn't say "Hope" anywhere, but it speaks Hope continually:
"I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
and take heart
and wait for the Lord."
Praying for renewed Hope over you and yours, dear Reader. Join me next week as we wrestle with Joy.