If you look for synonyms for hope, you’ll find words like want, wish, and desire.
You’ll also find the word “plan.”
If I were to say, I hope I can fly (which I secretly do, not in a plane, but actually fly) then you might interpret that as a wish or a desire (that will never actually happen), but if I were to say I plan to fly (not in a plane, but up-up-and-away style!), then you’d probably smile, nod, and give me those big “you’re crazy” eyes. Why? Because it’s okay to wish and want something, but when we start planning…well, then there’s more substance to our hope than just wishful thinking.
Hope is a powerful thing. It drives people to stay the course. It propels them forward when they feel like quitting. It projects something positive and gives something to believe in. It causes folks to plan and make adjustments to their life. And when the thing hoped for doesn’t happen, hearts can break and living can come to a dead stop.
The opposite of hope is despair. I’m not sure about this, but I would guess that most people face despair at some point in their life. Maybe it’s just for a brief moment, or maybe it’s years going slowly by with no positive change to be found. Either way, it hits us all, and it’s in those times we find ourselves not able to be our own remedy and wondering what to think.
That’s okay, though, because there’s a hope that is outside of us. “…if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13)
God is our hope.
Some other synonyms for hope are expect, trust, and yearn.
We may try to hope in math or science. We may think people won’t let us down. We may even think that we are the masters of our destinies. But there’s only one hope that will not fail–hope that is grounded in God.
We can expect him to keep his word, trust him to do what he says, and yearn to see him face to face. And we can do all of those things with confidence. We can believe because faith is the substance of things hoped for, the assurance of things not seen. We can plan on God, and we will not be disappointed.
There are lots of reasons for you to put your trust in God, to believe in Him, but I’ll give you just this one for now. From the beginning of time, he’s kept his word. No religion, no tradition, no existential experience can give you that. He is the great I am. He is real, and He loves you.
On the first Sunday of Advent we light the hope candle. “…hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:5)
Plan and have hope, dear friend.
You are greatly loved.
So true, Mary Beth! Hope changes everything in every way. Great reminder! P.S. I’d love to fly too!
Maybe one day we’ll be zipping through the sky!