“Then through the darkness, your loving kindness tore through the shadows of my soul. The work is finished, the end is written… Jesus Christ my living hope”(Johnson, Wickham, 2018).
What do you hope for? The better question is, where do you put your hope? Maybe even better, who do you put your hope in?
Many people are born into their faith. Meaning they are born into their parent’s faith and taught to believe it. This doesn’t mean that they haven’t questioned or tested their faith and come to acceptance on their own terms. Nor does it mean that they have not grown out of simple childlike belief and into a deeper realization and relationship with God. It simply means that since the day they came into this world they’ve had hope. There are others who have not been born into faith. Either their parents had no faith of their own, or these parents have fallen so far from their original faith that they have none left to hand down. Can you imagine living in a world with no faith, no hope?
It’s important to know the difference between faith and hope. Sometimes we use these words interchangeably. God separates them when he says, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love… (1 Cor 13:13), proving there is a difference. Above, I used faith to mean a belief, and hope as a product of that belief. Can we have one without the other?
Faith and hope work together. Faith is a belief. Hope is knowledge of the facts. Faith is defined as complete trust or confidence in truth, someone, or something. Typically, faith is not based on verifiable proof. Faith is expressed in terms of past, or present. Hope is set in the future. I have faith that God is with me during troubled times. I have hope that He works all things together for my good (Rm 8:28). It may be possible to have faith without hope. For example, I may have faith that God is with me in my struggle but have no hope left that even He can make good come from it. But, because hope is an assurance of faith, it is impossible to have hope without faith. We cannot be certain of a thing without belief in that thing.
“Who could imagine so great a mercy? Such boundless grace? The God of ages stepped down from glory. To wear my sin and bear my shame… Jesus Christ my living hope” (Johnson, Wickham, 2018).
What is hope?
Hope is defined as a confident expectation, an assurance of the future. Imagine living in a world with confident expectation of the future.
Hope is not wishful thinking or hoping for things through uncertainty. For example, I rarely plan road trips during the winter months. The weather is just too unpredictable. However, this winter I am planning a road trip that will take me across three states. My route will take me through mountain passes, over high elevations, and across open areas of likely gusty winds. I am hopingfor good weather. Will I get it? Who knows? I hope so, but there are no guarantees. There is no certainty. I am hoping in uncertainty. I am participating in wishful thinking.
Hope is a confident expectation. Hope is certainty.
“The cross has spoken, I am forgiven. Beautiful Savior, I’m yours forever… Jesus Christ my living hope…” (Johnson, Wickham, 2018).
The opposite of hope is hopelessness/despair/fear
Now, imagine living in a world with no confident expectation of the future. If you had to answer those first three questions, what, where, who do you hope in, what would your answers be? Would the answers be: nothing, nowhere, no one; success, money, yourself; peace, equality, the government? I was not born into the Christian faith, I remember living in a world with no hope. At one point all of these answers were my own. I may have put my faith in these things but there was no hope. There was no confident expectation for the future, it was wishful thinking. After nineteen years, of hopelessness,
“I turned to heaven and spoke your name into the night, Jesus Christ my living hope…” (Johnson, Wickham, 2018).
Now, I have faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I don’t hope in the resurrection, because my faith tells me that this is a truth that has already happened. I can hope in the promise of my salvation. Which is the reason for the resurrection. This hope we know as certain, because God has made this promise to give life to the full (John 10:10). It is impossible for God to lie so this hope is the anchor for my soul, firm, and secure (Heb 6:18-19).
Faith in the word of God, hope in his promise.
“Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free, You have broken every chain, there’s salvation in Your name… Jesus Christ, my living hope”(Johnson, Wickham, 2018).
The world we are living in is an unstable environment. Do we have hope for our future, our children’s, grandchildren’s future? How can we hope in certainty for a future when we are surrounded with so much uncertainty? Do we have hope, a confident expectation, for the future? Or are we just participating in wishful thinking?
“Then came the morning that sealed the promise. Your buried body began to breathe. The work is finished the end is written… Jesus Christ my living hope.”(Johnson, Wickham, 2018).
Wickham, P., & Johnson, B. (2018). My Living Hope. On Living hope[CD]. Nashville: Essential Music Publishing/Bethel Music Publishing.