What is Hope? Why Do We Need it?

We often hear people say, “I hope that… ” Sometimes it is a sincere hope, like the hope that the money to pay for the mortgage comes in on time so your cheque does not bounce. Sometimes it is the hope of somebody you love getting better and not passing on. Other times it is futile things that don’t really matter like, hoping that your next door neighbour invites you to his party or that the bridge isn’t too crowded so you have to wait a simple 5 minutes. There is a true hope and there is a futile hope that really isn’t a hope at all, just a desire for instant or even delayed gratification.

The Bible is loaded with examples of the word hope. There are many different meanings for the word hope. As a noun, hope can mean the following: achievement, ambition, anticipation, aspiration, assumption, belief, desire, expectancy, expectation and faith. And as a verb, hope can mean: anticipate, aspire, assume, await, believe, cherish, contemplate, count on, expect, have faith, hold, long for, pray, have faith, hold, and long for.

1. It is imperative for the Christian to have hope for more than one reason. We are told that Jesus is the Blessed Hope that we had all been waiting for. Those who know this are truly blessed, and those who know this without have ever seen Jesus as a human are truly blessed. Jesus said blessed are those who hope in me and yet have never seen me. John 20:29 King James Version (KJV) Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. So for those of us who believe in Jesus now, we are even more blessed than the disciples in that we believe in a person we have never seen face to face. In order to believe like this, requires hope. Hope that what the Bible says is true.

And if we are TRUE Christians, we KNOW that every word of the Bible is God-breathed and therefore true because God cannot lie. So to believe in Jesus Christ alone requires hope. The hope that what we believe is true and real. And Christians know within their hearts what is true and what is not because the Holy Spirit lives within our hearts and teaches us to discern what is right and wrong, what is true and what is false. We tell people that we know, because we know because we know…What other explanation can we give them. We know that we are saved because we know that we are saved. It is based on the hope of the Lord and anybody who is not a Christian will not understand this concept until or unless they too become a child of God.

2. Another reason we need to have hope is because of all the promises in the Bible, and we know there are many promises.

Hebrews 6:18 – The Message (MSG)
God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable. We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go.

The events we really need to have hope for, in my personal opinion include, but are not limited to: the rapture, healing from illnesses and the salvation of our friends and our families. How can we really know that Jesus will return one day to take us home to be with Him? We have to hope! We have to believe in that hope, in that promise that the angel said when Jesus was resurrected to Heaven that this same Jesus that goes to Heaven will likewise return to gather those who belong to Him. How do we know He is going to return? Do we have any physical proof? No. But we have His word. And what is better than the word of the Lord?

1 Thessalonians 4:17 says that we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord. How do we know this is what is going to happen? We have hope. Has Jesus ever gone back on a promise He has made? Not in my lifetime or in that of my parents or grandparents from what they tell me. So Christians need to have hope for the promises of the things that are to come.

3. Another reason we can have hope and believe in Jesus as our hope is because of Jesus Himself. He had to have hope that His sacrifice would surely result in a way to salvation and a path back to God for our sinful race. Yes, even the Son of God had to have hope in His Father that all His terrible suffering would end up with a positive outcome.

Now, if Jesus, who is God, who is Hope needed to have hope, how much more do we, who live on Earth in such a time as we do with all the terrors of the world, need to have hope in the Lord? Now more than ever, Christians need to have hope. Our faith is being persecuted not only in the Third World Countries but in our own backyard. The Lord’s Prayer, The Ten Commandments taken out of schools, courts, and governments. And yet these very things were founded on the Word of God.

Christians are a minority now in these days, therefore we need to have hope that God will not abandon us the way our countries have. We need to keep our leaders in prayer and instead of complaining about what they are doing wrong, write them letters with our concerns and what the Bible says about godly and ungodly nations. I do so about every 3 months. I usually get about 2 replies back, but at least that is two government officials who are taking the time to read my concerns. In this, I have hope that if nothing else, these government officials are reading the word of God, if only what I put in my letter.

We can hope in God that even though it seems we are losing, in the end, we have already won. Christians need to have hope even when it seems things are hopeless. I’m sure every Christian you talk to can tell you of a time or two that they really didn’t have any hope or it felt that they had no hope and they felt that God had abandoned them. But they got through it, if they are talking to you about it. Why and how? Hope.

Romans 4:18 The Message (MSG)
When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!”

Abraham believed even when there seemed to be nothing to believe in because he had hope in God’s promise and in God Himself. So too, we need to have this same hope when times seem hopeless. God will not leave us. He is always with us. And when it seems you just can’t believe, that is when God carries you because you do not have the strength to go any further on your own. You got through because of your hope in God.

4. Another reason we as God’s children need to have hope is so we can offer this same hope to those who have none and to those who do not yet know the Lord. If we do not have hope as Christians, what do we have to offer those who have nothing to hold on to?

Titus 1:2 – The Message (MSG)
My aim is to raise hopes by pointing the way to life without end. This is the life God promised long ago–and he doesn’t break promises!

It is our job to point the way to Hope, which is Jesus so that those who have no hope can have hope and believe in/on Jesus who is the Hope Of All that we had long waited for. And in order to offer hope to those who have none, we first must have hope and believe in that hope, because Jesus is our hope. If we do not believe in Hope or have any hope in us, then how can we offer it to those who are in need of it?

The Psalms are full of examples of cries for help with the use of hoping in God:

Psalm 25:3 New International Version (NIV)
No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame,
but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.

Psalm 27:14 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Wait and hope for and expect the Lord;
be brave and of good courage
and let your heart be stout and enduring.
Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.

Psalm 38:15 Amplified Bible (AMP)
For in You, O Lord, do I hope;
You will answer, O Lord my God

Psalm 40:11 New Living Translation (NLT)
LORD, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me.
My only hope is in your unfailing love and faithfulness.

Psalm 71:14 New International Version (NIV)
But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.

These are only a very few examples of where hope is found in the Bible. Stop and think of the people mentioned in the Bible who had to have hope in order to achieve their goals that God laid on their hearts: David with Goliath, Sampson when he brought down the pillars and a coliseum as a final show that He had hope in God and despite his many faults, still believed in God’s hope. Moses had to have hope in God to perform all the miracles he did. Remember that it wasn’t Moses who actually performed the miracles, but he did as the Lord told him, basing his reputation on God’s word to him, and God answered every time and eventually Pharaoh released the Israelite slaves. Remember Peter stepping out of the boat onto the water to meet Jesus. As long as he focused on Jesus and hoped in Him, he walked on water, but the minute Peter looked away, he lost his hope and sank into the water, only for the Lord to rescue him.

The many prophets in the Old Testament had to have hope that the word they received was from God and when they had to PROVE that God was God, by performing miracles like fire burning up the water on the sacrifice and in the drenches around the sacrifices. They too staked their reputation on the hope that God would not fail them or abandon them. And God never did. He always showed Himself to be true to His word.

These are only a few examples of the Bible of people who had hope in God, who NEEDED to have hope in God in order to come through the fire. In my own life, I have needed to have hope in God. I was very ill with Epilepsy growing up. By the time I was an older teenager, I was having an average of 5-20 seizures a day despite the 400 0mg of medication my neurologist had me on. I was pulled out of school. I slept more than I was awake. Sometimes I couldn’t even lift a spoon to my mouth to eat; my parents had to feed me like a baby. I was prayed for over and over and yet was not healed.

Many people believed it was because of a lack of faith on my part. What they didn’t know was that as a young teenager when I was first saved, God revealed to me that my healing would not come by so-called miraculous means. He was right. My healing came through surgery, so through the medical field. Without going into detail, the doctors were baffled at how calm I was for the surgery as I had to be awake for it. My surgery has been a witnessing tool for me since it took place in 1990. Where I used to have 5-20 seizures a day, I now have none and am on no anti-seizure drugs. Now that is hope fulfilled!!!!

I believed God. I trusted in His word that I would be healed but not the way many people wanted it to happen. And I am glad it happened the way it did, because the people I have witnessed to since 1990 about it is absolutely incredible and beyond numbers. Even my family members use it when they are witnessing to the unsaved. So, not only can I use it in a personal way, but my family too can use it to show how God works if you just have hope. I place my hope in the God of my fathers, the God of Abraham and the God who died for my sins and rose again, who will return one day in glory to take me home to be with Him. There is no greater hope.

Where does your hope lie?