IN THE LORD WE HOPE
By Wayne S. Walker
"For in You, O LORD, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God" (Psalm 38:15). Hope is one of those words which almost always conjures up a positive picture in the mind. Unfortunately, we use it much too loosely today. We often say, "I hope for this" or "I hope for that" when we really mean that we just wish for it. The true concept of "hope" is more than just a wish; it is desire plus expectation. I might wish that a rich relative would die and leave me a million dollars, but I have no reason to expect it, so I cannot really hope for it. When I was little and did something naughty, I might have expected that my parents would punish me, but I certainly did not wish it, so I was not hoping for it!
There are many things in this physical life for which we might hope depending on our situation in life–to graduate from college, to get married, to obtain a good job, to have a family, to retire by a certain age, to travel to different places, etc. These are not necessarily wrong. However, to appropriate a statement by the apostle Paul, "If in this life only we have hope…, we are…most pitiable" (1 Corinthians 15:10). In contrast, God offers us a hope that extends beyond this life and its end at the grave: the "hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began" (Titus 1:2).
Is such a hope just wishful thinking for "pie in the sky by and by," or is there some basis upon which we can actually expect to receive it? "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3). So it all boils down to one event. If we believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, we can have hope. That is why Paul calls Him, "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). An unbiased examination of the evidence leads to the overwhelming conclusion that, as Peter said, "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses" (Acts 2:32).
There is much more that could be said about hope in the Lord. We are saved through hope (Romans 8:24-25). Our hope is laid up for us in heaven (Colossians 1:5). This hope serves as an anchor to the soul (Hebrews 6:18-20). However, the single most important thing to remember is that "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness" (Edward Mote, "The Solid Rock," #120 in Sacred Selections for the Church). "For You are my hope, O Lord GOD" (Psalm 71:5).