There has been a serious question floating in my head for the past few weeks. It comes around during the quieter hours, usually when I’m alone or not occupied by what the Grinch called “noise, noise, noise.” It sneaks into my brain, asking, “What is your hope placed in?” I usually tell the voice that I’m too busy or too tired or too hungry to even entertain the question, waiving the inquiry as far away as possible. But today, for some reason that cannot be explained, I was
unable to ignore the question. It began at the finishing of George Orwell’s 1984, in which the main character struggles against a despotic government in a dystopian world. In the end, though, the main character, whose hope rests in the masses of the lower caste, (or perhaps in humanity itself) is destroyed.
But maybe we should first define hope before we continue (or define the sort of hope I intend to write about). Hope is the invisible expectation of something. And for my purposes here it is the invisible expectation of something that fulfills or satisfies. The Apostle Paul writes about hope in Hebrews 11:1 describing, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” But hope in what? And, just as importantly, faith in what? Many people find their hope in politics, praising a certain party for it’s plans or system of beliefs. Many people find hope in education, supposing an intellect will ultimately lead to a more fulfilling life. Some find their hope in simpler things: food, water, clothing, good looks, health. Are these things inherently wrong or bad? No. We need to eat, we need a system of government, we need education, and we need a reform of these things; for not every government is good, education (in the age of the information revolution) is suffering, and many people are hungry. However, one will never find hope in politics– they will never fulfill you. Just the same, education alone will bring you to a sad ending. Health, food, family, friends: if your hope is placed solely in these things, then your hope will ultimately fail.
At this point in the conversation you may say, “this is depressing.” Or you may say, “my hope, whatever it may be, satisfies. You are a fool for writing this, and I’m an even bigger fool for reading.” Listen, I have searched for satisfaction in these things and have found none. They will not fulfill, but they will let you down. They will not complete you, but destroy you with a longing too deep.
In the book of Romans Paul writes, “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:24, 25)”
What hope? This hope.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:4, 5, 8-10 ESV).”