01 March 2010

It's all about Hope - Part 1

As promised - here are clips from what I spoke Sunday morning in church.

This was the third time I’ve been blessed to be able to speak on a Sunday morning. Previous times I’ve talked about being sold out for Jesus and about what it means to me to be set apart by and for God.

Some of the words I spoke came back to sustain me these past weeks as my family gathered to mourn the passing of my father.

I felt different, set apart indeed, almost an alien in a foreign land.

There were many tears shed all around. I am the youngest of three, and the only girl. For all of my 53+ years, my father called me “the baby”. I would have expected his death to hit me harder than my brothers, yet they struggled in ways I did not.

So I questioned myself.

Was I hard hearted? That didn’t seem possible. Those of you who know me can testify to how easily I am moved by emotion. Surely I loved my father, didn’t I?

Was it because I had already been grieving the loss of the father I loved for years as dementia took bite after bite of the man I knew away from me? I’m sure that played a part as well.

But there was something more. Something I couldn’t put my finger on. Something that set me apart and left me experiencing things in a far different way than any of my family members and their friends.

“What is it?” I asked the Lord in prayer.

“ME” came the response that should have been obvious to me all along.

Jesus. Faith. Hope. I have a hope that is unique in my family.

But what is hope?

The modern conception of hope is “to wish for, to expect, but without certainty of fulfillment; to desire very much, but with no real assurance of getting that desire.”

I looked up Hebrew and Greek words translated by the word “hope”

Greek – elpis el-pece' From elpō which is a primary word (to anticipate, usually with pleasure); expectation (abstract or concrete) or confidence: - faith, hope.

Hebrew - yâchal yaw-chal'
A primitive root; to wait; by implication to be patient, hope: - (cause to, have, make to) hope, be pained, stay, tarry, trust, wait.

Hebrew - tiqvâh tik-vaw'
From H6960; literally a cord (as an attachment (compare H6961)); figuratively expectancy: - expectation ([-ted]), hope, live, thing that I long for.

So - according to the biblical usage, hope is an indication of certainty. “Hope” in Scripture means “a strong and confident expectation.” Though it may be archaic today in modern terms, hope is akin to trust and a confident expectation.

Hope may refer to the activity of hoping, or to the object hoped for—the content of one’s hope. I don’t only hope in Christ, Christ Himself IS my hope.

By its very nature, hope stresses two things: the future, and invisibility. It deals with things we can’t see or haven’t received or both .

In the New Living Translation we read in Romans 8:24-25:

We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

Biblically, from the standpoint of the object hoped for, hope is synonymous with salvation and its many blessings, in the past, the present, and the future, as promised in the Word.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5

This is true even with what we have al­ready received as believers because these blessings come under the category of what we cannot see. We may see some of the results, but it still requires faith and hope.

So let’s agree that what we mean when we talk about hope is a confident expectation, the certainty that what God has promised in His Word is true, and has or will occur.

1 comment:

Marsha said...

Wonderful words of encouragement, my friend. I know that is what continues to sustain you through this time.

I look forward to your next post.

Praying for you.