Right now it's highly likely that you're facing some problem or difficulty that seems impossible to overcome. I've been there. For that matter, I am there. But if there's anything I've learned about faith, it's that Jesus is in the business of hope. Here are four reflections on hope and why it's such a critical part of faith.
Here's how hope can change your life:
1. FAITH IS HOPE
When the author of the biblical book Hebrews explained faith, he spoke of hope.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 ESV).
As Christians, we do not physically see Jesus. We also do not know when he will return to earth. But we believe (have faith) in him. We have a conviction about that which we cannot see.
Ask yourself: Has God called you to a purpose? Now ask yourself: Do you believe in Jesus' work in your life and the world? If your answer is "yes" to both of those things, then really it shouldn't be hard to take the next step: To hope in what Jesus will do in your life. Have hope that God will see through his purpose in your life.
You may not have faith in yourself, but you can have faith in Jesus working through you. Faith is hope. And it can have incredible power in our lives.
2. HOPE IS MAGICAL: IT'S MIRACULOUS
Hope is magical; or better put, it’s miraculous. It changes our perspective and it changes lives.
Consider for a moment one the great problems of our world: extreme poverty, the fact that there are millions of people around the world trying to survive on less than a $1.25 per day.
Now consider that the developing world is full of people with tenacity and strength who lack the resources to make their dreams reality. They need hope. They need opportunities. Those of us with resources can offer them hope. Something as simple as our purchasing and donating decisions can change lives.
When we give of our time, money, or resources, we have the opportunity to watch Jesus’ work in the world. That act of faith should give us hope.
Each of us have a chance to see God at work, to put our hope into action. And doing so can offer us hope in return.
3. HAVING HOPE FOR SOMEONE ELSE CAN PERSONALLY GIVE YOU HOPE
The incredible thing about offering someone hope is that doing so also offers you hope. It makes you believe in what the person you’re helping is yet to see. It changes the way you feel about the state of that person’s life, and in doing so, causes you to think about what hope God has in store for you.
Having hope for someone else gives you a small glimpse at God’s eternal perspective. You briefly see the connections God does: how he has used you to help someone else, and how he will likely use someone else to help you. And it doesn't take long to get from there to believing in what God can do in your life.
4. HOPE IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THIS GENERATION
Jesus has great opportunities in store for this generation. He is the hope that Hebrews 11 speaks about. It is his work through the Spirit that we’re anticipating and desire to fully realize. It is Jesus’ second coming that we wait for. But it is his work now that we live for.
As Christians, we are convicted that Jesus was resurrected from death and is working even now. We believe in what he is yet to do, and we should do everything we can to be a part of it.
In hope, there is something magical that ignites our spirits—and it’s something we can bring to others in the name of the Jesus.
[written by John D. Barry]