What better place to end than with hope?
The anachronistic medieval comedy-drama A Knight’s Tale features a scene where the protagonists gather around to help their friend write a love letter to his sweetheart. Coming to its conclusion, Geoffrey Chaucer claims, “And now, to finish it,” looking to blacksmith Kate, who offers, “With hope. Love should end with hope.”
I couldn’t agree more, which is why I saved this exploration on hope for last with all you beloved saints.
I think about hope a lot these days. At the time of this writing, America has been in some state of quarantine over the Coronavirus for going on 3 months. Every day, I used to have fear when I peeked at the news or social media; now I choose to go into it with hope. Hope, not just for a good report today, but for God’s hand to be evident in people’s lives during and after this moment of crisis is behind us. Hope that we see Him, not the struggle, when we look at the days to come.
And I hope for the days when I can visit my parents again without these immediate health concerns. For the days when my favorite Pourhouse coffee shop opens up again, when I can hug all three of my best friends, when I can lose myself in the bookshelves of Barnes and Noble or the racks of a clothing store again. They may seem frivolous, but I do hope for these things, because they bring me joy.
Sometimes Christians talk about hope like there’s only one thing to hope for—the Hope, the Ephesians Hope, the one about the next glorious life. But the longer I live, the more I think God wants us to hope for things now—to hope for what He wants to give us. For the things that have His fingerprints all over them.
So I hope for reconciliation in broken relationships, for floundering marriages to pull through, for addicts to choose sobriety, for those struggling with infertility to find their two pink lines. For delayed children to walk and talk, for unity between Christians, for negative tests results for the infirm. I choose to hope for witnessing opportunities and new friendships and more people to call brothers and sisters as uncertain friends decide to follow Jesus. I hope for bright days that smell of linen and lemonade, hope for coffee shop visits with my mom again, for conferences and concerts and teaching weekends glorifying God together. I hope for us all to be able to hug elderly parents and visit faraway friends. I hope not for a new normal, but a better tomorrow.
And I choose to hope for these things because above all, I think that to see the culmination of something desperately hoped for is to catch a glimpse of The Hope—what it will be like when we fall into the arms of Jesus, basking in God’s light, at last knowing what it is to be home and safe, fully seen and fully loved.
It’s a slice of eternity on earth. And beloved ones, I truly hope for that—for us all.
What is Hope?
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines hope as “to cherish a desire with anticipation; to want something to happen or be true.”
The beautiful thing is that for everything we hope in Christ, we do not merely have to want it to be true; it will be. Ours is the hope that cherishes a desire with anticipation; what goes hand in hand with our hope is patience, because we can be certain it is coming, but the road from here to there will be difficult.
What Does the Bible Say About Hope?
Romans 12:12 – Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
1 Peter 1:3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Hebrews 6:19 – We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,
How Can I Become More Hopeful?
Quite a bit of hope is rooted in where we place our focus. Obsession with one’s current circumstances, with things we fear or can’t control, ultimately invites hopelessness and dejection. Conversely, fixing our eyes on good and profitable matters—things that outlast present tribulations, whether it’s a short-term future or fully-eternal perspective—uplifts the heart.
Recognize that there will always be things on the near and far horizon that can upset us. These are the waves that threaten to drown us if our gaze is not fixed on the good, true, profitable things God tells us to dwell on. We have to choose not to let our line of vision be consumed with the “what ifs” and “somedays” and instead fill up our eyes with what is beneficial to us.
This can be a daunting task at even the best of times—and in this present era more so than ever. People are often shamed for not living in the gravity of the present day. But we can appreciate the weight of the present without letting it rob us of hope; in every circumstance, we can remind ourselves and others that nothing in this world will ever be perfect, but Jesus is still King and he is still coming back. Not only that, but he provides for us causes to hope every day.
Miracles still happen. Hearts can still turn. Love triumphs. The sun rises, the earth turns, and as imperfect as this life is, God has not abandoned us now, nor will He ever. He provides and blesses even as our heavenly future is being prepared for us.
Never despair. Never lose heart. Press into the promises of God and see the things in the near and distant future which inspire hope. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, not on the waves. Choose hope.
Take time to examine your focus this week; is it on matters of hope or are you distracted by troubles and despair? If the latter, spend time in prayer and work actively to renew your mind, casting down hopeless thoughts as soon as you become aware of them and turning your eyes to Jesus instead!