Hope is one of the three great pillars or doctrines of the Christian Faith. It is on Hope, along with Faith and Love, that the whole of the Christian faith is founded. Consider the words of 1 Corinthians 13:13—“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (NIV) If you are like most people, you have heard many tributes to the greatness of love. Most likely, you have had a discussion or two regarding faith. But what about hope? In relation to faith and love, hope is the forgotten middle child. I’d like to take some time over the next few weeks and discuss what hope is and the importance it has in life.

Hope, rightly understood, is a unique Christian virtue. Because of hope, Christians are able to view life, issues, trials and circumstances in a way that gives unbelievers extreme difficulty. For example, the Christian can have hope when a loved one dies. For many in our world, death is viewed as the end, the termination of life and meaning. The Christian, while grieved at the loss of a loved one, understands that there is life beyond this world. With hope as an ally, the Christian can navigate the trials of life with courage, serenity and equanimity. Before I get too far ahead of myself promoting the virtues of hope, let me begin to unpack what hope is and how it affects our lives.

The Bible uses the word “Hope” many times. It means: to have a confident expectation regarding someone or something. Hope often anticipates an unseen or future event. The basis of the Christian hope is God. God has proven he can be trusted and that he has our best interests at heart. A Christian can have a confident expectation of the future (hope) because he or she knows that the Creator of the universe has to power to make things right. You and I are at the mercy of forces that are greater than we are. We face storms in life that can and will blow us away. But the Christian knows that God is greater and stronger than anything this world can throw at him or her. Another basis for confidence is the fact that God loves us, we are his creation. It is of little comfort to stand next to something (or someone) who is more powerful than I am if that something (or someone) has little interest in me or compassion for me. God has repeatedly told us (and shown us) that he loves us. As a matter of fact, God’s love for us is not based on how good we are. It is based on how good God is. Truth be told, I’m not always that lovable! But God has an endless love for us (his creation). God showed his love for us in coming to die for us and paying the price for our sinful, law-breaking ways.

There are many reasons we can and should have hope, a confident expectation that God will always do what is best for us. Hebrews 11 is often called the “Faith Chapter.” It lists many faithful heroes of the Old Testament. These faithful men and women not only lived lives of Faith, they were “Hopeful servants of God” as well. I’d like to say that Hebrews 11 could also be called the “Hope Chapter.” We live in a fallen and broken world. All around us there are those who want to predict the demise and downfall of all that is good and wholesome. While I also see the craziness and misery of this difficult world, I also see that God is on our side. I’d like to observe how God always stepped in to lead his faithful servants to victory and a hope-filled life. I believe that Hebrews 11 is God’s reminder that where ever we go, He is there. Whenever we do not have answers, He does. Whenever we are short on power, he is all-powerful. Join me as we learn that the Christian life is built on Faith, Love and Hope (yes, I changed the order a bit). Keep looking up!