Definition of Hope
Hope is a positive attitude of expectation and anticipation regarding one’s future. Although your next moment and all of its subsequent moments into the distance cannot be clearly seen, you still expect the circumstances of your life in the future to be positive and to be beneficial to your well-being. You hope to be relatively comfortable, safe, and happy.
Sources of hope
If everything is great in your current circumstances, you probable expect them to continue in that positive way. After all, you’re not going to do anything to ruin the picture; right? You may even hope that the future will get better because you’re going to work to make it so.
If your circumstances aren’t so good right now, you may hope that they will get better in the future, because they can’t get much worse; right? Your going to do what you can to make some changes that you believe will make some positive changes in your circumstances.
That is a worthy goal, but the fact is that there is a lot in your circumstances that are beyond your control. You can’t control the stock market or even those closest to you in your family. You can’t control the politicians in the nations of the world or even your neighbors next door. You can’t control your boss or even your co-workers, and if you are the boss, you can’t control your competition around the corner or across the world.
There are some aspects of your life over which you have some control, and you may be able to make some changes in respect to some of them that might have some positive benefits in your circumstances. But you are going to get older and you can’t stop the passing of time or control some of the basic effects that this process has on your body and the physical circumstances of your life. This life and its circumstances are terminal for everyone!
The source of your hope for positive circumstances in your future is basically outside of your control. The positive benefits that you hope to receive in the future will come to you generally through your relationships with others! They will provide that future for you. You won’t be able to provide it by yourself. And it is the qualities of the persons in those relationships that will have the most influence on your hope for your future well-being.
The process is much like that of getting good water that is pure, clear of any foreign bodies or pollution. Maybe you regularly buy bottled water just to make sure that it is as pure and as clean as possible. You know that you can’t get good water from a polluted well, and thousands of children and adults in many underdeveloped countries of the world get sick and die every year from drinking polluted water from the streams that run through their villages.
You shouldn’t hope or expect to get positive benefits from sources or relationships that are polluted by the evil of this world or full of selfish sins. They are in no condition to provide you with any lasting positive benefits now or in the future. The stock market responds to the greedy, profit-seeking efforts of those engaged in the businesses and investments of the world. Most of the politicians of the world continue to try to maintain their positions and influence for their self-serving aims of fame and fortune without much regard for the common good of others, even the citizens of their own countries. A lifetime of savings can be wiped out in a moment from a major natural disaster or the fraud of a trusted company executive.
We each live on a battlefield where there are few guarantees for anything positive happening in the future. There is little job security, even in careers that have traditionally been very secure. Maintaining one’s health is a constant struggle, particularly as we get older, and there are new or persistent dangers revealed in our diets and environments and circumstances every day. Change is the only constant factor that we observe around us, and the world doesn’t seem to be becoming a better place in which to live.
Your best source of hope is from God
Your best source of hope for having a positive, safe, and comfortable future will come from God. God is love! He doesn’t change everyday or even every century in accord with market cycles or political polls. He is pure holiness, pure GOODness, unpolluted honesty and truth. He is absolutely in charge of the future. He is almighty, the sovereign creator/owner or all that there is. There is nothing that you can acquire for your future comforts and safety that is not already his! Apart from what God can give you, you have no hope for a positive future.
Only Jesus can provide you with any hope for your future
One day you are going to die or be brought to stand before Jesus, whom God sent into this world and whom he made judge over it, and all of the benefits and resources that you have acquired from this world for your future will be gone. All that you will have for your future of eternity will be what Jesus has prepared for you through your personal relationship with him.
Before Jesus was crucified, arose from his tomb, and returned to God, his Father, in heaven, he told his disciples not to be “troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms, if it were not so I would have told you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:1–3 in the Bible).
As you and I trust, which is a synonym for faith, in God and in Jesus, Jesus’ promise to prepare a home for us in heaven and to return and to take us there to be with him and his Father for eternity provides us with hope. It is this promise of Jesus that secures any hope for you and me!
Being raised by parents who live in a personal relationship with Jesus may enable you to get to know him. Participating in the services and classes in a church where Jesus is honored and glorified may enable you to grow in your relationship with him. But apart from a personal relationship with Jesus, which you must accept yourself, your future, especially your eternal future, is grim. You are without hope of having a GOOD future. For a definition of what is GOOD see my statement on the index "Introduction to what might be considered “good”" page of this website.
For an explanation of why a personal relationship with Jesus is so crucial to any hope that you may have for your future see my statement on “Why Jesus?”. If you want to know how to enter such a relationship, read my statement on “The Plan of Salvation” on this website.This statement on “God’s work of redemption” is a basic description of this process.
If you want any positive hope for the future, you must get it from God. It is a virtue that he is willing to give to you when you believe in his Son, Jesus, repent of your sins, and accept him by faith as your personal Savior. All of your other possible sources of hope are polluted by this world. They can provide you with no positive benefits for your future, particularly the one that is for eternity. May God bless you with his virtue of hope as you trust him for his ongoing grace, compassionate care, and your final victory over death and the enemies and corrupting influences of this world.
The above Scripture quotations are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society, Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.