Hope, according to the dictionary, is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen; the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.
I suppose we might call it an optimistic point of view. Whatever we choose to call it, hope, it would seem, is basically a feeling.
However, if one reads a bit further down we find the “archaic” definition of hope - a feeling of trust. This, I think, gets us closer to what Paul had in mind when he wrote in his letter to the Romans 15:13:
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Hope - when rooted in the One who is its very source, is not a feeling. It is confident expectation. We can trust God to do all He has promised to do. For instance, when He says He will never leave us, we don’t have to wish He would show up for us when we’re struggling (only one of thousands of promises found in scripture).
We find ourselves in a season where everyone is clinging to hope of one kind or another. Hope that a vaccine for the corona virus will be found quickly. Hope that our loved ones will stay safe. Hope that we won’t be ruined financially because our jobs are gone. Hope that we will be able to return to life as we once knew it. Hope that no-one we love will get sick and die.
We won’t find joy and peace in the midst of all that’s going on unless we can find a person we can fully trust. The best intentions of those in authority don’t bring us any confidence that what they are doing will help us. With a twenty-four hour news cycle instilling fear and confusion it’s no wonder real hope seems hard to find.
The one place we can find real hope is in the Lord. We’re not promised all our desires will be realized. We are promised:
He will be with us no matter what happens. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for You are with me.” Psalm 23:4
He will meet our every need. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1
We have the hope - the assurance - of eternal life when we put our trust in Him. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosever believes in Him shall not perish but shall have eternal life.” John 3:16
Surely we can overflow with confident hope knowing we have a Heavenly Father who loves us so completely. He is mindful of our weakness in the face of the things we fear most, and He offers to take the weight of those burdens for us. In their place He gives us peace.
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.”