Pastor Chris Tweitmann
Two small but deeply impactful words. If heard on the battlefield or in the hospital waiting room, or perhaps within our darkest thoughts, with these two words, everything falls apart. No one ever wants to say them to themselves, let alone to another person. Few are resilient enough to withstand their devastating power. What, then, are these two unbearable words?
Hope is something we need, something we look for, something when lost and unable to be found again, leaves us mortally wounded. Hope is crucial for healthy human existence. If you’ve ever known someone who had no hope, they probably weren’t doing so well.
But what is hope?
Hope is associated with an anticipation of something or an aspiration toward something. Despite its importance, hope is one of those words we tend to use rather flippantly these days. We might say, “I hope I win the lottery,” or “I hope I don’t get a speeding ticket.”
Really what we’re saying is, “I wish I would win the lottery… But I know the odds are so far against it that I don’t really think I will.” We see hope as a feeling or a desire that something might work out. The modern psychological definition of hope is “to wish for, to expect, but without certainty of the fulfillment; to desire very much, but with no real assurance of getting your desire.”
Studies in hope from a psychological perspective are helpful. They provide a basic framework for perceiving the concept of hope. However, a distinction exists between a secular definition of hope and one derived from the vantage point of faith – particularly, for our purposes, the Christian faith. Therefore, as we continue our summer series looking at the meaning of biblical concepts as expressed through their original language of Hebrew and Greek, we will turn our focus on the theme of hope.
Is hope a wishy washy maybe or a kind of unsure optimism about a possibility?
Or is hope something more than this – something deeper and broader in scope both in terms of its object and its promise?
You’re invited this Sunday to join us as we unpack the meaning of YAKHAL, the Hebrew word for “hope.” Together we’ll explore how the concept of hope turns up in the Bible. We’ll reflect on how first Jewish believers and later, Christ-followers, spoke of and envisioned hope.
Without hope, people perish. Hope is vital for our lives. In fact, it’s so important that it’s one of the three things that the apostle Paul said are eternal. “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13
In Christian circles we hear a lot about faith and love, but hope is rarely, if ever, covered. This weekend, that unfortunate trend is going to change. We do not live in a world or a time without hope. However, real hope, true hope, everlasting hope is different than what most of us expect or imagine.
Grace to you!