GodReflection: A Secure Grip On Hope.
Can hope sustain? How about that for a loaded question? For English speakers hope lacks precision as a word. When I look at the English language there is not a lot of help with the word’s definition. Hope can cover a big territory as we use it from a wish for peach ice cream to a desire for eternal life.
In one of his letters written in the seventeen hundreds, English writer Samuel Johnson describes hope as a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords. He seems to accurately assess how people move through life—from hope to hope as we seek happiness, until the dash ends on the tombstone.
I suggest most of us do a portion—if not all—of life driven by our own steam. We envision the next project, dream, or goal (however we describe our move toward the future) then we move by step and misstep in the new direction. As dreams and goals fail or fade, we move on to our next hope. In this sense hope is uncertain.
At some point it becomes apparent that our own steam lacks the fuel to satisfy and sustain. With time, bodies wear out and energy leaves as youth makes its exit. We have little to offer to sustain the semblance of happiness and contentment.
Hope is a “must have” tool to be content in life. The sooner we come to the reality of our need for hope to sustain, the sooner we can be content. So then comes the question, where can hope that sustains be found?
Over a lifetime I am forced to conclude that hope to sustain my walk across life is only found in Jesus. I stake my claim on three realities. They are truths that have grown in intensity over my seven plus decades.
The first is the realization and acceptance of grace that has come to me through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The cross and the resurrection made it possible for me to be recreated with an eternity in the presence of Holy God, Son, and Spirit.
The more I read the historical story of the witnesses who stood at the cross, the ones who watched the burial, talked with the resurrected Jesus, saw his ascent from this earth, then took on his mission, the greater my conviction becomes that hope in Jesus is a solid investment. It is a hope that sustains.
Second, I find sustaining hope to be verified through experience. Mostly, it comes through the view from my rearview mirror. Daily spectacular victories are not my norm. Life seems to consist more of “highlight reels” that mark occasions of undeniable Holy presence and intervention.
Hope sustains when I remember times the Holy honored my specific request. Hope sustains when I witness the Holy use my efforts to bless others in ways far beyond what I could envision. Hope sustains when I think about the myriad ways God has worked behind the scenes of my life journey.
Third, I find hope that sustains when I read the promises found in Scripture. The Holy pledges of the Biblical text are far too numerous to treat within the word limitations of this blog. However, let me mention two summation statements written by Paul. For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope (Romans 15:4).
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).
I end today’s post with encouragement from the Hebrew preacher who wants his audience to know hope can and will sustain, let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).
I trust you have latched onto hope that sustains. Has hope come to your life over the process of life, or did it become your reality on a specific occasion? I would love to hear your story.
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on Can Hope Sustain?