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  • Phil Rains

HOPE

“Hope Springs Eternal” This was a phrase from a poem by English poet Alexander Pope called “An Essay on Man.” It was filled with hope, which was seriously lacking in that era, much as it is in our world today.

How often do we use the phrase "I hope so”? It seems as as if we toss it around without thought and sometimes without reason. Perhaps we human beings do not have a clear and thorough understanding of what hope is or of it's awesome power. There are times, in our human way of thinking, when it seems that hope depends on luck, coincidence or some other cosmic phenomena to fully manifest it’s power, purpose or potential. But when you consider it carefully, hope is at the very center of the gospel message, for we are saved by hope” (Rom. 8:24). The scripture is not saying that hope alone saves us, “for by grace you are saved through faith...” (Eph. 2:8), but that hope pushes us to that intersection, that precipice of sin and redemption where faith allows us to step off into God’s saving grace. After all, isn’t faith “the substance of things hoped for” ( Heb. 11:1)? Hope is so much more than just wishful thinking or sentimental desire or optimistic spirit. Hope is both the roaring lion and the bleating lamb; both the rumbling thunder and the distant footstep. Hope engages and then re-engages, it motivates and encourages, it challenges and strengthens. It stabilizes us, unsettles us and moves us.

When others around us have lost courage and vision, hope awakens and impassions us to move past the stalemate of mediocrity. Hope drives us on, always seeing the possibilities and never giving place for all the voices that say “it’s time to quit, throw in the towel and go home.” Hope is a force. When some would succumb to difficulties, hope keeps moving, climbing, sometimes even struggling, to see the fulfillment of the desired outcome. Real hope, godly hope, does not know how to quit. Hebrews‬ ‭6:18-19‬ ‭ “lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast....” We, at times, try to generate hope within ourselves, for ourselves, only to find that the same ole recurring doubts and fears keep knocking the props out again, and again. This artificial, manufactured hope will always fail you. Even though hope sometimes works in spite of us, it must also be intentionally nurtured. But at some point, we will either allow hope it’s place, or we will reject it’s power in our lives, giving way to hopelessness.

When you have rejected the very one who IS hope, you are left with only hopelessness. Godlessness=Hopelessness.


This is why we are living in a world that seems to be shrouded in despair, unraveling at the seams. Everywhere you look this despair is manifesting as unrest, anger, distrust, hatred and chaos. The sad thing is that no one will find answers until they first find hope. That may seem to be backwards, but meditate on that for awhile. Hope is not based on any of your answers, but hope produces answers, the right answers. Hope will feel it’s way through the fog of doubt, fear, discouragement, and then deliver us to the proper destination. Hope continues to drive us past the conflict and the uncertainty because we always see something more, something better.

We both possess and are possessed of hope. Hope as something you possess allows you to hope for something good. However, when you are possessed of hope, it causes you to be expectant even when circumstances scream to the contrary. Because of that, it’s not that we hope for a certain thing to happen, but that we have a hope for something more. God is both the source and object of our hope. Hope comes from God and leads us back to God. In a world where despair is the rule, not the exception; where people’s hearts are failing them because of fear, God has called His church to live in hopeful anticipation. Such a hope is not founded on superstition or wild guessing, but on the resurrection of our Lord. ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:3-5‬ “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, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Need there be any other reason for Hope? Well, glad you asked. I have a few other reasons why we have hope. “Hope of resurrection...” Acts 23:6 “Hope of the promise...” Acts 26:6,7 “Hope of righteousness...” Galatians 5:5 “Hope of the gospel..." Colossians 1:23 “Hope of the glory of God..." Romans 5:2 “Hope of salvation..." 1 Thessalonians 5:8 “Hope of His calling..." Ephesians 1:18 “Hope of your calling..." Ephesians 4:4 “Hope of eternal life..." Titus 1:2

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