Merriam-Webster defines it as:
-desire accompanied by an expectation of or belief in fulfillment
-expectation of fulfillment or success
-to cherish a desire with expectation
-to expect with confidence
Of all of the emotions common to man, hope may be one of the most central and instinctive, second perhaps only to love. We hope for all kinds of things- marriage, children, jobs, rain, sun, good results from tests, answers to our questions, our favorite teams to win, that the store won't close before we get there. There is no end to the things for which we hope.
Sometimes hoping is hard when we just can't see the answer. Sometimes hope feels like all we have.
The Bible has a lot to say about hope. Here are a few...
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1
"Always be zealous for the fear of the Lord. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off." "Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off." Proverbs 23:18 and 24:14
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life" Proverbs 13:12
"Then I would still have this consolation— my joy in unrelenting pain— that I had not denied the words of the Holy One. What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?" Job 6:10-11
"Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him." Psalm 62:5
"I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope."
"I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is.
So I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD.
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD." Lamentations 3:17-26
"Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." Romans 8:23-25
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23
"But as for me, I will always have hope" Psalm 71:14
I think scripture is interesting on this subject of hope. Even in the above sampling of verses, hope is not always a positive word. Sometimes the word "hope" is our very last cry of desperation, frustration and, well, hopelessness.
Are you in a season of hope? What are you currently hoping for? We have been hoping for some things at our house and right now, there are no answers coming. Though Proverbs 13 is true that hope deferred makes the heart sick, I know that Hebrews 10 is true as well... He who promised is faithful.
I, and anyone else who is hopeful right now have to remember whom our hope is. We belong to Him and we, I, need to remember who our God is:
The First and the Last; the Architect of the Universe; Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, Dead but brings life, light, love, goodness and kindness; Holy, Our Saviour, Our Peace, The Ancient of Days, He never overlooks me; The Lifter of my Head; My Healer, Lord Almighty; My refuge, My comforter, Upright and Just; The Most High, My Strength; The Author of my Salvation; The guarantee of a better covenant; The Faithful Witness; The Living One, The Amen, The Ruler of Creation; What He opens no one can shut and what He shuts, no one can open.
There is nothing that can ever happen in my life, to those around me or in my circumstances that can change any of those things about God. So, while my earthly hopes are currently deferred, I have to remember that my real hope is in the person and character of One who is unchanging and ultimately trustworthy of all my hopes and dreams.
(All scripture from the NIV and portions of the description of God from Priscilla Shirer)