‘Hope’. What does it REALLY mean?

This week on UCB 1 and UCB 2, it is our Appeal and we have been talking on air about ‘the plan for hope’. Last week, I met with our presenter team and I asked them to think about their definition of hope.

If I were to ask you, what would you say? What is your definition of ‘hope’?

Well, for me, I have to go back to the Word of God and what Scripture says. Looking at God’s Word, I believe that the right definition of ‘hope’ is ‘a joyful expectation of something good’.

If you picture for a minute, the story of blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10). He was sitting in the dust, in complete darkness and all of a sudden he could hear all this noise. I imagine he said, ‘hey guys, what’s going on? What’s happening’. The people nearby told him that Jesus was passing by and suddenly Bartimaeus was filled with hope. He has this joyful expectation that something good was going to happen for him and he was so eager to get it, he started to shout his head off, in order to attract Jesus’ attention.

In another story, a sick woman was so desperate for her breakthrough, she left the house and pushed through crowds just to touch the hem of Jesus’ garments. She should not have even left the house but she wanted her breakthrough so badly and she was ready to do what she had to do to get it.

These people were not just ‘wishing’. A wish is really just a lucky draw, it might happen, it might not happen. But ‘hope’ (by the Scripture’s definition) led these people to have a joyful expectation. The anticipation of what might happen became almost visual, tangible. They knew, that they knew, that they KNEW, that they only needed to call out or touch him. They knew that if they had a touch from the king, their situation would be changed.

Even later in the New Testament, when Paul is shipwrecked and facing prison, he was shouting ‘we are going to be ok. We are in the middle of the wreckage, but I am joyfully anticipating that we ARE going to make it.’

In my own life, I know this to be true too. Even after the death of our son Jamie, though our world was falling apart and everything was in chaos, there was still this sense of peace, this hope, that though we could not see it yet, God would bring something good out of our sorrow.

Please do not get me wrong. We do not rejoice in such terrible suffering, but we can know that somehow God will bring good out of it. Real hope is not a ‘wish’, it is a deep down expectation and anticipation that good will come from whatever situations we may face.

Worldly hope is just a wish. Godly, Biblical hope is what carries you through. I believe that when we look to God’s Word for our definition of hope, suddenly so many stories in the Bible make sense. We are also able to view our situations and circumstances differently. We are able to see them not through a worldly system of ‘wishing’ that they will improve, but with a Godly anticipation and expectation that sooner or later, good will come.

If you are in need of hope today, can I encourage you to not just ‘wish’ but instead ask God to fill you with expectancy of what he can do. When you have that real, God-inspired hope, your perspective will change.

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