What do you worry about most when you face a difficult hardship?
Being physically harmed? Ridiculed? The loss of a job and the financial problems that follow? The loss of your health? The loss of a loved one? Loneliness? Your own death?
The word hope is commonly defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. We say things like “I hope we have something good to eat tonight,” or “I hope my boss is in a good mood today.” Hope is always looking forward and it is important to have hope, or a positive outlook on life, to hope that better things are coming our way. To not have any hope during difficult times can make recovering that much more difficult or even impossible.
The amount of hope a person has is often based on those people around them who can help them, to provide comfort, and assistance. When you are alone, without help, it is hard to find hope. Our hope is also based on the certainty, or uncertainty, of the future we see for ourselves. When good things are coming in our lives it is easy to have hope. It gets much more difficult when we see nothing but dark clouds or hardship in front of us. This is the way the world generally thinks of the world hope. It is a wishful desire for better things to come.
How does the meaning of the word hope change when you become a believer in Jesus Christ? Instead of simply having a wish or desire for a certain thing to happen, the word hope means certainty for a believer in Jesus Christ. A believer never has to worry about who will be around to provide support, for they have the certainty of the Holy Spirit living within their heart to provide strength, wisdom, power, and comfort. This is not just a feeling, but an absolute certainty of His presence and power in their lives.
The believer also knows with total certainty that there is eternal life in heaven that follows this temporary life on earth. Imagine the hope that comes from knowing without a doubt that you will have endless thousands upon thousands of years of living without old age, hunger, persecution, disease, or death. A believer knows that heaven is real and, therefore, hell is real, but this is not a concern to the believer, for they have absolute certainty that living in heaven with Jesus Christ is their next destination.
A born again, child of God, a true believer in Jesus Christ, who has Jesus Christ as their Lord and Master, looks at difficult times with an expectant hope. The word expectant means that they are eager for the future to come, and they are excited about what is coming. They can be expectant because they have absolute certainty in the promises that God has provided for them.
They can easily ask themselves, how can I fail to overcome the problems of this world with the power of the Holy Spirit of Christ in my heart. How can death harm me, if I know what is going to happen next? Death is nothing more than a weigh station to eternity.
In his final words to Timothy, Paul expressed this expectant hope eloquently.
2 Tim 4:6-8
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
There was no doubt in Paul’s mind what laid beyond the grave. He was absolutely certain of his eternity with Jesus. He knew that Jesus would be waiting for him, ready to say, welcome home thou good and faithful servant. This is the expectant hope of the believer. Listen to this podcast to learn how you can have an expectant hope.