The word "hope" has different meanings. Often, especially in this day and age, it refers to a wish. We would like a long life, nice home, and good health. We don't know if any of that will happen, but that's what we want... what we hope for. But there's another definition, one that Christians don't use often enough. It refers not to a dream, but a reality. It is not a wish, but a certainty. It's not what we demand, but what we expect. Ah, but what do we do with this beautiful hope?
We use it as a measure of judging faith. We find doubt and assume unbelief. We hear questions and claim weakness. We see humanity and deny the presence of the Holy Spirit. When given the opportunity to show the world we really do love and encourage one another, we pass judgment as we pass by. And we do so even to ourselves. When days are darkest, no one escapes the desperation of this world.
"God, don't let him die!" "Why is this happening?" "Where will we live?" "How could you do this?" "Why don't you hear me?" "Please spare her life!" "What have we done to deserve this?" "Heal my child!" "Don't let us lose what we've worked so hard for!" "Take this cup from me!"
Does the last one sound familiar? When Jesus spoke these words, did He lack faith? On that dark day, did He have no hope? Jesus experienced what we all experience in such times... the overwhelming flood of personal desire. He cried out just as we do. He felt the pain and knew the emotion. He knows what it's like.
And He knows such cries from His friends have nothing to do with faith and hope. They have to do with humanity, a humanity He shares. And this is not a weakness as some would have us believe, but the beginning of strength. For when combined with the determination to follow the will of God, this frail humanity grows into a witness of ultimate and absolute love.
We can hope more because we have felt hopeless. We can encourage more because we have felt discouraged. We can love more because we have felt unloved. And we can follow Him with greater faith because we are sure of the emptiness of life in this world without Him and certain of the fullness of life in the next where we will be with Him forever.
For we know it is not the love from God, but the love of God that brings us joy. It is not what He gives but what He is that will carry us through the storms of life... with our hope and faith intact. And we will stand, for He will make us stand. (Romans 14:4) We simply need to rely on His strength, and not our own.
In your darkest days, May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-16
Take care and be God's,