“I claim the gift of hope. I have hope, not in the glorious achievements of man, but in the ever-glorious providence of God.” – Dwight Longenecker
I like to pride myself in being an optimist – you know the “glass half-full” kind of person. You, too? Optimists are surely more fun to be around than pessimists!
But in a world full of problems that seem unsolvable, optimism falls short. It usually is unrealistic and is ineffective in addressing the challenges of life. Instead, I suggest we turn to hope. Not the weak, “I hope so” kind, but a strong biblical hope based solely on the providence of our almighty, all-loving God. It’s a hope that is an assurance God will act, good will come, and justice will prevail, even though we may have to wait for its complete fulfillment. If our hope is based on biblical promises, what we hope for is as real as the ground we walk on.
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul assigns hope with faith and love as the three main values that endure. Why, I wonder? I think because faith is needed to access hope. When we learn to trust God’s promises and his character, we will be filled with hope. With that in place, what can we do but love him and love others? Godly hope energizes love because we know we are and will be taken care of – there is enough of God’s provision for everyone. Hopeful people are loving people.
Once we get a taste of that kind of hope, we realize the shallowness of mere optimism. Hope based on God’s providence is not optimism. It’s reality.
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:5