by Bill Jolitz
Quote: “ … hope …” (select any one of its 80 uses in the New Testament).
Reflection: Hope is a squishy word. The World’s definition comes from dictionaries. As a noun it is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen;” one of its synonyms is daydream. As a verb, it is to “want something to happen or be the case;” one of its synonyms is pipe dream. Not very promising.
Churchfolk have their own intuitive definitions that come from reading the word in Scripture many times over. The problem with individual intuition is that it can be ill-informed or simply wrong. Cross-contamination from the world makes a proper understanding difficult.
Let’s get a little technical here. What lies behind the word “hope” is the concept of probability; what are the chances something will happen. A probability of zero means that “it ain’t gonna happen ever, no way.” A probability of one means “it most certainly will happen, no way that it won’t” Everything between zero and one is doubtful. Maybe yes, then again, maybe no.
Too many churches fail to teach its people the proper understanding of hope in the Kingdom of God. In the New Testament, when God promises something to give us “hope,” it is an absolute certainty. Our “hopes” are not pipe dreams or daydreams, they’re not sentimental wishes or platitudes. They’re not “nice-if-only-it-happens.” They are as certain as the death and resurrection of Jesus bar Yusuf, the Christ. It is a case of when and not if. The Holy Spirit has been given as a pledge/guarantee of that happening. SO, we can wait patiently.
“Christ in [me], [my] hope of glory” is an absolute certainty. This is the basis for Kingdom confidence.
Prayer: Dearest God, help me to realize that your promises are not a sentiment or wishful thinking. Whatever promises you have made are made certain by your holy name. AMEN!”
Bio: Bill Jolitz and his wife Susan served as mission pastors to churches in a country closed and hostile to Christianity for over a decade. He is currently diving deeply into Contemplative/Mystical Christianity.