Hope (verb) \ ˈhōp \ Definition of hope: to cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen or be true
It’s Actually More Like Fear
I had some challenges growing up. In my heart, I believed that the only hope I had for a better life was for me to get a scholarship and go to college. My parents were young and did the best they could with the life they had chosen. So, I knew my hope was in my ability to succeed with the plan. I built walls around my heart, and at a very young age became self-sufficient. In the classroom, I was told I was a joy because I always made the right choices. My teachers told me I was a good student. Each word of encouragement I was given only made me try harder to accomplish my goal on my own. I became my only hope.
Can you imagine a 10-year-old trying to take care of everyone and everything on their own? I realized I was wishing for something great to happen because of my goodness. That’s when fear settled into my heart. I had no business carrying such a heavy burden, and the worst part is that nobody knew. Fear kept me from meaningful relationships with people. I didn’t share with my friends or the adults around me about what was going on in my life. There was a constant fear that I would make the wrong choice. When I was a teenager, I was so afraid of making a mistake that I stayed home and went to bed at 9:00 p.m. every night. What I have learned, through a lot of help, is reliance on myself didn’t lead to hope but to fear.
When I placed my hope in myself and my ability to succeed, I was crippled by fear. No one could live up to the expectations I set on myself! I reached a breaking point in my life and I am grateful Christ came to my rescue.
Romans 5:1-5 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
After a while, I couldn’t take the pressure anymore. I couldn’t hide the fact that I was stressed out and depressed. The walls I built to keep people out was keeping all of the bad locked in with it. We started going to a church in town, and even though I didn’t deserve the invitation, I was invited to camp with the youth group. While I was there, I heard a speaker who told me about a hope that I didn’t know existed. He told me about Jesus and the hope of glory. The speaker that night said there was no way for me to be perfect. He told me that through faith in Christ, I didn’t have to wish for a better life. I was given a guarantee of future hope.
A New Way
I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was 16 years old at Covenant College during Student Life camp. It was an amazing experience. I had a joy I never knew before. I wish I could tell you that I never lost sight of what Christ did for me that day. The truth is, I have stumbled through life at times. The Holy Spirit is still working to show me how to live in the promise of His hope. You see, it’s easy to say you have a guarantee no matter what life throws at you. It is an entirely different thing to live as you do.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” The speaker at Student Life camp told me through Christ, whether I stayed in my present circumstances, or whether I made a better life, I can have confidence in my hope for eternity. I didn’t have to rely on myself to be the perfect daughter, or the perfect student anymore. I don’t have to fear to make a mistake. God and his offer of hope are steadfast and sure. My future is in the hands of God where it has always belonged.
So what does that mean for us? First, if you are a Christian, it means you have the responsibility to tell people about the hope you have received. Stop acting like you have earned the blessings you have received. People need to know that it was perseverance through suffering that led to hope. The reality is, you and I aren’t that holy.
Second, we have to put our trust in Him whether things are going the way we planned or not. Things are not supposed to go the way you planned. If you serve a god that goes by your plan he is not as powerful as you think. Stop wishing for better and believe that God’s way is better. God’s plan may not be what you wished for and that’s ok. Let’s show a lost and dying world a living hope, not in ourselves and our ability to be good, but in Christ our future hope of glory.