We misunderstand hope a lot and that misunderstanding causes more than its share of pain and suffering.
We tend to see hope as having to do with what we would like to see happen. Our hopes are tied up with our wishes and preferences. “I hope that it stops raining.” “I hope I get a good job.” “I hope that my wife likes the gift.” “I hope the hard times get over soon.” “I hope this is a good day.” I know for me, particularly when I am in a hard time in my life, my hopes seldom go past what I wish would happen to bring me relief.
Life is hard and for many people that is all it seems to be. The single biggest hope is for relief. But life is not about my wishes. Even though I frequently forget I know it is not about me. The outcome of basing my hopes on my wishes or personal preferences is to lose hope in hope. The things we wish for have a way of never seeming to come through. At least for me it seems that way. If our wishes must be fulfilled for hope to be confirmed then we are likely to be left with cynicism and resentment as our only consistent companions.
In the Bible hope is tied to truth. And it is availible to anyone who has faith in the truth. Hope is the statement that “this is true, so this is what you can count on to happen.” Hope is for us, but it is not about us.
On a different level when we found out that Linda was bipolar our hope was based on the truth we found in the notion of recovery. We thought there is a truth which brings good news. And with that we have found the optimism to face many difficult times.
I do believe in the truth of God. I believe that what he has for me is so much more important than anything that is about me. I frequently still make myself miserable wondering why the things I wish were true don’t seem to happen like I wish they would. But I think that is part of what it means to be human. To often when things are hard and we feel miserable and we are looking for the source of the poison in our life we look everywhere else but in the mirror. I know I do.
Truth gives substance to hope. On whatever level you are looking I hope you find the truth that gives substance to your hope.