Hope--More Than Wishful Thinking

As I have been acclimating to my new role in developing curriculum for Reasons for Hope*, I have upped my screen time significantly--watching, taking notes, and absorbing as much of the video content as possible. Beginning this new endeavor of producing curriculum for many of these resources, starting with DeBunked, is really exciting and yet really overwhelming all at the same time. In fact, I have found myself using the word “hope” quite frequently; but, I might add, incorrectly:
“I hope God will bless me with lots of ideas today.”
“I hope I can get in the writing zone after taking these notes.”
“I hope I can unpack the material in a way that the audience can learn
and master this important content.”
Needless to say, I was convicted about these thoughts as I viewed DeBunked, Episode 4, “There is Real Hope without Jesus.”  I encourage you to take a few minutes (2:54 to be exact!) to watch this video to truly understand what I’m saying here.

"We all desire something we can place our trust in with certainty."

My “hopes” so to speak were voiced merely as wishes, or as Webster’s puts it, “feeling(s) of wanting something along with the belief that it may happen” (italics mine). As we are queried in Episode 4 of DeBunked, “...(C)an we really call uncertain, confidence-lacking, rolling the dice, closing your eyes, ruby(-slipper) clicking, rabbit-foot rubbing, wishful thinking--hope? … Shouldn’t true hope, ultimate hope, eternal hope be based on truth, fact, … something I can … be confident in?” Though these questions are designed to be a bit rhetorical, I think we’d all agree with a solid, “Yes!” We all desire something we can place our trust in with certainty.
At Reasons for Hope*, we believe that such certainty is revealed in God’s Holy Word. The word “hope” as used in the New Testament (NT) is from the Greek “elpis” which means “expectation, trust, and confidence.” From the root “elpo,” meaning “to anticipate (with pleasure) and to welcome,” elpis is then having confidence in what is guaranteed. We first see the use of this word in the NT in Matthew 12:21, “and in his name the Gentiles will hope.” It later appears over 50 times and is used in reference to future events that are sure to come. The notable recurrence of elpis in Scripture shows us how important it is to God that we Know it! Live it! Share it!

The Source of Hope

In case there is any doubt, let’s establish that THE source of true, confidently expectant hope you can trust now and forever is God Himself. Scripture calls Him, “the God of hope” affirming Him as the source of all real hope. If we truly desire genuine hope, it has to come from Him, for only He has the power needed to provide it.
Because I am a Christian, Christ has provided me--and ALL believers in Him--with the hope of salvation both here on earth and for eternity.
And to be honest, we really need to have this eternal hope to get us through the ongoing flood of trials and tribulations on this earth in the present. When my husband and I started sharing with friends and family that we were joining the team at Reasons for Hope*, many of them quickly responded with, “We could sure use some of that right now!” This message is both needed and timely, for “if in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied”
(1 Corinthians 15:19).

The Blessings of Hope

To make this idea even more personal, that is to say, “Christ in me, the hope of glory” brings to the conversation the absolutely mind-boggling, soul-stirring concept that “the power of Christ rests upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). To then assert that my hope is a “blessing” seems cliché, yet, at the same time, attaches the concept of hope to the certain, able-to-be-trusted, tangible promises of God--exactly what it tells us in His Word.

"When you have hope, you understand blessings in a deeper way."

Also, Titus 2:13 posits that we are “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Through this hope, we don’t just get a little bit of benefit (blessing) but are filled with joy and peace.  When you have hope, you understand blessings in a deeper way.
Additionally, we are the willing recipients of the abundance of God’s grace as we wait expectantly for “His glorious appearing” in the person of Christ. The more I read and study this four-letter word, the more excited I get to share this amazing and awesome news with anyone who will listen! But then, isn’t that what the Bible says happens when we have this hope?

The Boldness We Have Through Hope

When we understand hope biblically, come to know it personally and experientially, and live in its fullness, we can’t help but share it, because one of the byproducts of hope is boldness. But you don’t have to take my word for it (Acts 17:11b); these Scriptures speak for themselves and empower us to live out our faith with boldness.
So, … no more wishful thinking, Christians. We can press forward with absolute certainty and boldness because of Whose we are.

1 Peter 3:15 NKJV
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you,
with meekness and fear." 

Author Bio:
Holly Varnum, Director of Curriculum Development at Reasons for Hope* joined us September 2021 to launch curricular materials to support many of our media resources. With degrees in education, curriculum and instruction, and educational administration, she comes with over three decades of experience in working with teens and adults in camp ministry, teaching and administration, and curriculum writing (A Beka Book, Focus on the Family, and Answers in Genesis to name a few). God has provided her with a well-rounded educational perspective through service in Christian schools, charter schools, public schools, Christian camps, and local church ministry. She has been a classroom teacher, instructional coach, administrator, camp counselor, Sunday School teacher, ladies’ Bible Study teacher, and conference speaker and looks forward to using her passion for God’s truth within the context of RforH*.

Her hobbies include cooking and baking, hiking, camping, travel, and working on DIY projects. Holly and her husband, Paul, (RforH*’s new Media Content Director) also enjoy any time they can spend with their three grown daughters, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren (so far!). They live in the beautiful state of Maine, and yes, eat lobster (properly pronounced “lobstah”) whenever they get a chance!

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