I must admit that my hope concerning the direction of our country has been running on fumes lately. This is a pretty miserable place to be in life and I don’t enjoy it or recommend to you or anyone else. Maybe you are there too.
Here are some questions I’ve been pondering and some of the answers I’ve been coming up with as I’ve been wrestling with what’s going on in our country and this issue of hope.
1:What is hope?
2. Why is hope so important to us?
3. What is the biblical concept of hope?
4. What are my reasons for hope in a crazy world?
What is hope?
What is it exactly that I’m running low on regarding the direction of our country that I need to recharge, refill, or renew? My attitude hasn’t been very hopeful lately. Hope is an attitude or way of looking at life that motivates me to keep doing the best I can do every day. Merriam-Webster defines it as ” To desire with expectation of fulfillment.” Wikipedia’s definition is ” An optimistic state of mind based on the expectation of a positive outcome of the circumstances in one’s life.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hope
Both definitions suggest that we want, desire or expect something and have a positive attitude that what we want will happen. What is missing in these definitions is why, or on what basis we can have confidence that what we want will happen. What is it about the situation or the character of the person that gives us this hope? In my opinion, there is little in the current leadership of our nation to inspire confidence that we are going in the right direction. A recent Axios poll puts me with the overwhelming majority of the 72% of Americans who feel the same way. https://www.axios.com/2022/01/23/poll-72-america-wrong-direction
I haven’t given up hope on our country but I’m certainly very discouraged with the way things are going right now. As citizens of the United States of America, we are part of the greatest national experiment ever devised by man. But, the last two years have exposed a side of human nature that has put us in great peril. Power, greed, deception, incompetence, and pride tend to characterize the leadership qualities of many of our elected officials.
Our constitution is the only thing that protects the freedoms we have enjoyed for so long. To me, this marvelous treatise is second only to the Bible as the most important document in human history. Here’s a quote from an old handbook on the constitution, “Democracy is the outgrowth of the religious conviction of the sacredness of every human life. On the religious side, its highest embodiment is the Bible; on the political, the Constitution.” This book will help you understand the context in which our country’s founders were working out the details of our constitution. For more information and/or to purchase this book go to https://www.forgottenbooks.com/en/books/TheConstitutionoftheUnitedStates_10057863.
I sometimes struggle to balance hope with the reality at hand. While I am encouraged that we may have enough “textualist” judges on the high court to interpret the constitution according to the intent of its signatories, I am not at all hopeful that much will change for the better in our daily lives under the current administration.
Reality is crime, open borders, inflation, incompetent leadership, and an attitude that says “Do whatever it takes, say whatever it takes to stay in power.” There is no evidence to suggest this trend will change any time soon. Our hope is that the electorate will use the means provided in the constitution to change directions and restore sanity and hope to our country. Our hope is in the vote. We deserve much better leadership than we are getting.
Why is hope so important?
Hope is important, an indispensable ingredient of attitude that keeps us growing and moving forward. Hope motivated me as a child to get a good education to overcome obstacles that held back my good but poorly educated parents.
The hope for a better life is bringing thousands of immigrants to our southern borders. While I don’t agree with the open border policies of our current administration, I certainly understand the hope that drives many of these immigrants to come here.
Hope inspires us to faithfully work for the promise of something better, to reach for what may seem impractical or impossible. It was the hope of heaven, a better world that put Abraham on a path of faith that took him from Ur to the Promised Land. The nation of Israel is the fulfillment of the promise God made to Abram when the idea of having a child seemed impossible to him and his elderly wife Sarai. Since I’ve brought the Bible into the discussion at this point, let’s look at the next question about hope.
What is the biblical concept of hope?
When we put this idea of hope in a biblical or Christian context we add a dimension that is noticeably missing in the secular definitions I used earlier. The biblical idea of hope puts God and his character into the equation. The biblical idea of hope is that we can trust God to keep his word to us, to do what he promises. So, my hope for a favorable outcome in my life circumstances is based on who God is, not on luck, chance, or the alignment of the planets, etc.
Both Old and New Testaments answer this question in the same way. Both testaments tell us that God is the only reason or basis for our hope.
God’s mighty deeds regarding the nation of Israel are the basis for Israel’s blessings and hope. God promised Abram in Genesis 12:1-3 that he would make him the father of a great nation. God kept that promise. God also promised to deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt and settled them in the land he had promised to Abram. Israel often strayed into sin and rebellion but God always kept his word to them. The greatest promise of all was that of a messiah, which he fulfilled in the coming of Jesus. God has proven himself trustworthy because he always keeps the promises he makes to us.
The New Testament teaches that our hope is in the One who raises the dead,”(Christ) delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us.” 2 Corinthians 1:10.
In Romans 15:13 Paul asserts that God is indeed our hope. ” Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope in the power of the Holy Spirit.” It is our relationship with God himself that assures us we will receive the promises God has made to us.
What are my reasons for hope in a crazy world? As a believer, there are two major reasons for hope.
First, I serve a Risen Savior! God is not dead. Jesus is alive and all the promises of God are confirmed in his resurrection. While there are serious battles we must contend with in our brief sojourn on earth, the ultimate victory of Christ is a settled matter. Times are tough now but there is a better world waiting for us. By the way, it’s the same “city” Abraham looked for as he faithfully followed the call of God on his life. Hebrews 11:10. For more on how the resurrection affects our life https://www.cosdavis.com/easter-people-in-a-good-friday-world/
Our second reason for hope is the reality of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. The moment we confessed Christ as savior, the Spirit of God came to live within us. The eternal life he has brought into our life will not be destroyed or diminished in any way by anything this life can throw at us or death itself. If you know Jesus as your Savior, you don’t have to wait until you go to heaven to have eternal life. The wonderful reality is that you have eternal life right now! Look at what Paul writes about the Spirit as a pledge or promise God has made to us, “He…sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” 2 Corinthians 1:21-22. What does this pledge or promise mean to us? It means the God of our hope will keep us and complete the work he has begun in us.
Jesus, the hope of the world, came into a world that was hopeless. Politics and religion were basically messed up and power-hungry. Leaders were more concerned with keeping their power than the welfare of the people whom they were supposed to serve. Sound familiar?
In the midst of all the personal and national turmoil life may throw at me, I have made a choice. My choice is to pray for all our leaders but to put my hope in Jesus. Politics and “religion” are not the answer to our deepest needs. We may be living in the last “best” times of our nation (I certainly hope not) but Jesus is our only reliable hope. He lives and will see us through whatever comes.
As I often do, I’m including another resource to expand your thinking about the subject I’m writing about. Here’s one I think you will find very helpful. https://billygrahamlibrary.org/blog-5-things-the-bible-says-about-hope/
Needing something to inspire and help you live out the life of hope? Check out my book. http://www.cosdavis.com/product/heavens-currency-investing-in-the-things-that-matte-most
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