Possessing a hope based on wishful thinking is a far cry from a hope based on God’s covenant promises.
For example, no matter how fervently we cry out, “I hope it does not rain!” the fulfillment of such hope has only the best prediction of a meteorologist.
If our hopes are merely inspired by mortal predictions, we can expect disappointments and disillusionments along life’s journey. But if our hopes are based on the mighty acts of God and God’s covenant promises then we have hopes that will not disappoint.
If we want to understand more about “hope that will not disappoint,” we need to turn to the books of Hebrews and 1 Peter. In the Book of Hebrews, the author states that our hope serves as an anchor of the soul, for such hope is based on the sure and firmly set promises of God given to us via Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. Like a boat anchor which we cannot see beneath the water, we can only see this anchor of the soul by faith in the unseen but very much present God Almighty.
1 Peter has been called the letter of hope; for Peter, hope became a mark of rebirth through God’s grace and mercy. This new lease on life is what we acquire as we participate in the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. To be born again into a living hope means we dare to hope again that life will change for the better both in terms of our current earthly existence and our eternal salvation in heaven. As Paul Minear once stated, “Hope is both present and future in the same sense that the revelation of God’s glory is present and future.”
1 Peter sought to renew hope for those Christians in Asia Minor undergoing severe persecution for their faith. Written from the belief in the immanent return of Christ, Peter emphasizes the hope of the coming grace of God in Christ’s second coming to bring relief to those suffering for their faith, and that the believers’ response to such expectation should be a life of sober obedience and holiness. Apparently there was a large pagan population where these believers lived; hence the necessity to remain holy, that is, separate and distinct from the ways of these ungodly people.
The miracle of what God did via the resurrection of Christ can inspire us to renew our hope for resolution of problem areas in our lives, thus renewing our faith that God is good, his mercy is everlasting and his truths endure forever.
The Rev. Gene Norris is a Presbyterian pastor in Augusta.