“I hope it doesn’t rain the day of the picnic.”
You and I have no control over the weather. Hoping it doesn’t rain is nothing more than wishful thinking. Is Christian hope wishful thinking in the face of all that we can’t control?
“I hope the Chicago Cubs win the World Series.”
They might win it; it’s possible to be sure, even though it’s extremely unlikely. Is Christian hope a hankering after what is extremely unlikely?
“I hope we’ll soon learn to get along together, and class hostility, social conflict and financial exploitation will soon be a thing of the past.”
Anyone who speaks this way is most naïve concerning human nature and utterly ignorant of human history. Is Christian hope childlike naivete with respect to our nature and inexcusable ignorance with respect to our history?
For Christians hope is a future certainty grounded in a present reality.
The present reality is the faithfulness of God.
God’s faithfulness is marked out by major landmarks (promises He has kept). His involvement with His people, an involvement He won’t abandon.
One such landmark is Israel’s release from bondage in Egypt and its deliverance at the Red Sea.
Another landmark is Joshua’s leading the same people into the long-promised land.
The landmark that towers over others, however, and gathers them up into itself, is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Here all the promises of God find their fulfillment. Here the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel and to Israel’s greater Son overflows out onto all flesh, Jew and Gentile alike, out onto all whose faith-quickened seeing acknowledges the presence and power and purpose of God in Jesus of Nazareth. God had promised to renew the entire creation in Christ, liberating the creation from its bondage to the evil one, freeing it from its frustration and allowing it to flower abundantly.
God’s raising his Son from the dead is the decisive moment of this promised liberation and is therefore the landmark of God’s faithfulness.”
What does any of this have to do with hope??? This seems more about faith and the greatest sacrifice. About trust.
Question: How is it that we who are believers affirm this while unbelievers do not?
Believers and unbelievers alike live in the same world, suffer the same pain, undergo the same treachery and turbulence and tragedies.
Believers speak of God’s faithfulness as the ground of their hope while unbelievers see no evidence of faithfulness and no reason to hope.
Then why do believers persist in hope while unbelievers don’t?
Believers continue to hope, continue to insist on a future certainty despite present contradictions, never feel that their hope is misplaced because “God’s love has been shed abroad in our hearts.” (Rom. 5:5)
At this moment believers are aware of God’s love flooding them.
Our present experience of God is itself part of God’s faithfulness to us. This too is part of the present reality undergirding a future certainty.
Hold on a moment? Undergirding? I have never heard of such a word. What does “undergirding” have to do with hope anyway?
Undergirding, according to dictionary.com, is a verb meaning to strengthen, secure or give fundamental support. The security is provided by a rope or chain under and around. An example provided is “to undergird a top heavy load.”
God’s faithfulness in our abilities to live a value filled life parceled in the envelope of hope that all he has given, all sacrifices, will provide us the promised conclusion. Along the journey we continue to hope that the tragedies are manageable, the drama minimal, the rewards full of abundance.
Undergird = Hope
Hope = Faithfulness
Faithfulness = Trust
It is a rope securing all of life together.
In other words there are two aspects to the present reality of God’s faithfulness: one is what God has done for us in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; the other is what God has done in us as the Holy Spirit has soaked us in the Father’s love again and again.
No wonder we look with confidence to the transformation of men and women, nature and universe, as the entire creation is finally healed.