Hope has always been an elusive word to me, a bit ethereal if you will. I never could put my finger on what it actually meant. I have heard the psychological and biblical definitions of it, but to really understand what it was, how it worked and what distinguished it from faith was hard for me.
Now I am a member of Hope UC Nashville, and we say a blessing type benediction at the end of our service every Sunday morning and of course it is a verse cloaked in hope. I say the verse, but never was able to grasp its significance. Then this morning, I am reading Romans 5 and it says, “having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” I can’t deny this word any longer, so I dig into it and what I found as a Hebrew definition of one of the many words translated hope has unlocked understanding for me.
Hope means to stretch out the mind in a straight direction towards an object of hope or expectation. It means strength; standing firm; trust, wait, refuge; it means to live out God’s call to righteousness; and long-term hope is the sense of the arc of history bending toward justice. Now, I have some bones to hang onto when I hear the word hope.
I end my prayer, study time with communion and today with this fresh understanding of this ancient word, rich in meaning, history and mystery, I look at the bread and the wine and realize, it was hope that allowed Jesus to endure the cross. He never thought the cross was His final destination, His hope pulled him in a straight line through the cross, into the grave and up into glory, so now He is seated at the right hand of His Father in heaven. Hope does not allow you to stop at the cross (the painful things in your life) it pulls you through the cross, into the grave and up and out into glory.
Church, we need to stretch out our mind in a straight direction towards an object of hope or expectation. Jesus expected the glory of God to manifest on earth as it is in heaven and He knew the cross was just one thing He had to go through, the grave was another, but He would not stop until He was manifesting glory for us to see, now 2000 years later, because He had hope in God. Let hope pull you through your cross seasons, through your grave seasons, into your manifestation of God’s glory in your life on earth as it is in heaven. Hope is the cord that pulls you toward the goal of glory manifestion and glory demonstration. This my friends is the power of hope!!!