More Than Wishful Thinking
I don’t know about your household recently, but mine has had someone feeling sick constantly for almost six weeks. It started with our oldest daughter, then went to our youngest, then my wife, then me, and then the cycle began again. It’s like a boomerang sickness that keeps coming back over and over again. I mean, we want our daughters to learn how to share, but this is definitely not what we had in mind. (P.S. Kids do get better at sharing, right? I know it’s a slow process, but a guy can have hope, right? ☺)
What are two of the most common responses when we mention we or someone in our family has been sick (besides politely asking for you not to get too close to them ☺)? One common response is, “Wow, that sickness is really going around. My (enter family member, friend or co-worker’s name here) has had that too.” The other is often “I’m so sorry. I hope you feel better soon.”
I’ve found myself expressing sorrow and hoping for people to feel better a lot recently. But the message this past weekend reminded me of something I had heard before, but not really allowed to hit home. When we hope for someone to feel better or to have a great day, we use the word hope to signify the idea of wishing something will work out the way we want it. We can use that definition of hope to describe anything from our desire to find a close parking spot to our desire that our favorite restaurant hasn’t changed their menu. It’s wishful thinking, but not much more.
So what happens when we read the Bible with that same definition of hope? When we put our hope in God, does that mean that we are just wishing something will work out the way we want it to? Is putting our hope simply wishful thinking, but not much more? No, putting our hope in God is much more than wishing something will work out. It’s a posture of submission and absolute trust in who He says He is and that He will work things out better than we ever could.
First Timothy 1:1 says that Jesus is our hope and 1 Corinthians 3:11 tells us that “no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” We don’t need to wish Jesus is on our side. He’s already proven to be our intercessor. We don’t need to wish He will look out for us. He’s already sent us the Holy Spirit. We don’t need to wish He could love us despite our failures. He already demonstrated his own love for us by dying for us while we were still sinners. The hope Jesus offers isn’t wishful thinking; it’s prayerful trusting. May this definition of hope hit home for you as it’s beginning to for me and may it spread to those around us more quickly than this pesky boomerang sickness going around. I know it’s a slow process, but like kids learning to share, a guy can have hope, right?
Throughout the week:
This weekend Pastor Jeff emphasized how Jesus is the One Hope for us and for the world around us.
- Read Romans 5:1-8. How is God speaking to you about the hope we have in Him through these verses?
- In what area of your life do you need to rid yourself of seeing hope as “wishful thinking” and take hold of the idea of “prayerful trusting”?
- Take a moment to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal someone in your life who needs to know that Jesus is our only hope. How can you encourage them with that truth this week?