How to Hope
Perhaps you know a person who refuses to acknowledge the “bad” that appears plain to everyone else. We call these people optimists, people who “hope for the best.” Their hope is often grounded on little more than a dislike or denial of reality (as one wag put it, “Sometimes you have to look reality square in the face and deny it!”). Optimism may seem commendable, but there is little undergirding it. The most serious attempt to make optimism respectable was that of the seventeenth century German philosopher Leibnitz who posited the theory that we live in the best of all possible worlds (or the least of all evils, pessimistically speaking!).
Because theology is called the “Queen of the Sciences,” we can be forgiven for examining optimism scientifically. To truly have “hope,” it must be more than a wish or preference. Anyone can say, “I wish things would turn out for the best,” or “I prefer that things turn out for the best.” But to truly have hope, one must be able to say, “I know things will turn out for the best.” That level of confidence leaves an optimist confused and shaking his head. Who could possibly know that things will always turn out for the best? The Apostle Paul tells us: The person who knows the love of God.
True Biblical hope, Paul says, never disappoints. We have hope at all times—even in bad times—he says, because the Holy Spirit has made known to the believer in Christ the constant, unconditional love of the God of the universe. But is this hope grounded in something besides apostolic theory? How is this better than Leibnitz’s theory of optimism? It is better because it is rooted in the historical, space-and-time death of Jesus Christ on a hill outside Jerusalem, Israel, in 30 A.D. This is how God proved his loved for us: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
God loves you, has proved it, and invites you to have hope today. Hope that is unshakable and grounded in His reality. Graduate from optimism to realism and know that everything will turn out for your best (Romans 8:28).
God’s Promise to You: “If your hope is in me, you will never be disappointed.”
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