In an interview with John Piper, he said, “hope is like a reservoir of emotional strength.” So, what is hope? Is it wishful thinking or is there more to it? Maybe there are different definitions of hope. There is worldly hope and biblical hope. Here are three different kinds of hope that Piper shares in the interview.
We use the word hope in at least three different ways.
- Hope is the desire for something good in the future. The children might say, “I hope daddy gets home early tonight so we can play kickball after supper before his meeting.” In other words they desire for him to get home early so that they can experience this good thing, namely, playing together after supper.
- Hope is the good thing in the future that we are desiring. We say, “Our hope is that Jim will arrive safely.” In other words, Jim’s safe arrival is the object of our hope.
- Hope is the reason why our hope might indeed come to pass. We say, “A good tailwind is our only hope of arriving on time.” In other words, the tailwind is the reason we may in fact achieve the future good that we desire. It’s our only hope.
So hope is used in three senses:
- A desire for something good in the future,
- the thing in the future that we desire, and
Depending on your point of view, hope can be wishful thinking or it can be attached to your faith. “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 Piper explains biblical hope:
Ordinarily, when we express hope, we are expressing uncertainty. But this is not the distinctive biblical meaning of hope…biblical hope is a confident expectation and desire for something good in the future.
Biblical hope not only desires something good for the future — it expects it to happen. And it not only expects it to happen — it is confident that it will happen. There is a moral certainty that the good we expect and desire will be done.
In other words, whenever faith in God looks to the future, it can be called hope. And whenever hope rests on the word of God, it can be called faith.
Today I was feeling discouraged, but now I am feeling hope through my faith! It is my prayer that today you will have hope too. If you would like to read the whole interview, here is the link.
In His Hands,