“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. – Eph 1; 18,fFrom Martin Hayward:
It seems as though hope is a basic necessity for mankind to thrive. If that wasn’t the case, then I can’t think that a staggering 70% of the UK’s over 18s would take part in the national lottery on a regular basis with at least 50% of the overall population buying a minimum of 3 tickets each week in spite of the chances of winning with 6 correct numbers being 1 in 45,057,474* Clearly there is a great need for us humans to have something to grasp and to which we can look forward in order to lift us out of doldrums… even if the hope turns out to be short-lived and based on a day-dream. No wonder that the older we get, the more experience makes us sceptical of our hopes ever coming true.
Because hope is so fundamental to our well-being, it is no surprise that the Bible talks a great deal about it. But Biblical hope is so different from secular hope; in its light other hope becomes barely recognisable as hope. How so? Because Christian hope is founded on the solid existence of the Living God – not on prevailing circumstances or what we possess or who we know; it is based upon the living God whose love and care we can experience now as he fulfils his promises to reach out to those who seek him.
And what is this Biblical hope? Does it reward us with riches, freedom from aches and pains and guaranteed happiness in the here and now? No, its reward is the spiritual satisfaction of knowing that our lives won’t end in the blackness of a hole in the ground but by bursting into new life beyond our wildest imagination.
What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived—
the things God has prepared for those who love him (1 Cor 2; 9f)
The difference between the sort of hope that leads millions of optimistic people to waste their money on the slender chance of winning lottery £millions and the Christian hope of life eternal life spent in the presence of the Father as his children is that our real hope is rooted on what we know of God through the Bible, on what we know of him through Jesus and through the witness of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
*I know that these figures must be right; I “Googled” them – and we all know that’s infallible!