We hear a lot about hope — from politicians, from books, from multimedia. But what is offered in each of these messages doesn’t seem to last. We may get fired up and encouraged by what we hear in such messages; indeed, we may find ourselves refreshed and hopeful for a season. But what is offered is not a fixed, experienced hope and it soon fades away.
The entire world is yearning for a steadfast hope. Hope is not a feeling. How many times has your expectation for something good failed you? How many times has your human hope been crushed? The inner cry of multitudes around the globe right now is, “Somebody, somewhere, please give me some hope, something that will last.”
Many wonderful books have been written by people who maintained hope through their awful tragedies and hardships. Their testimonies encourage us, giving our faith a great lift. But, again, our hope fades whenever a severe trial arises in our own lives. The sufferings we endure dash whatever steadfast hope we thought we had.
Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, “Sorrow [not] as others who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). The book of Hebrews tells us we have a “hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil” (Hebrews 6:18-19). In short, the path to hope begins with being fully assured that we are right with God. We’re talking about the assurance that we have peace with God: “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God though our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
Likewise, Paul prays, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). According to Paul, when it comes to the subject of hope, the work of the Holy Spirit must be involved.
In a famous old hymn of the church, Edward Mote wrote, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Indeed, this is peace: to believe God’s promise that by faith in Christ’s shed blood, he considers me righteous. And his righteousness is conferred on me not by any good I have done — it is all by faith.