Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hoping Against All Hope

Hope. It’s a word I love. Probably, it would be safe to say, this is my favorite word. It’s tossed around in political campaigns and desires for grandeur, fame, relationships, food and money. But hope is such an all-encompassing feeling like joy or love. Yet it’s much more than simply looking forward to something.

I would submit that most of what we feel as hope is something we would classify as nostalgia. Remembrances of our past, good things which cause us to hope for their return, C.S. Lewis hits it square in the face by saying, “These things-the beauty, the memory of our past-are good images of what we really desire… [But] they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited.”

Our hope in so far as it is deemed to be true and solid hope is not simply in what we desire for the future, but what we know from the past, mostly Jesus’ finalized work on the cross and victory over death. For if we hope in the future there must be an understanding of this past accomplishment not simply as fact but as faith.

But to hope in things seen is to not hope at all for hope is in the unseen, the eternal rather than the transient. Sure it may be a desire of things to occur, but it is not hope. Hope is founded in faith. But faith in the transient is misplaced faith. For though I can have faith in a relationship working and hope for it to last, that faith and that hope will not change what will be. But faith in the Eternal and hope in the Lasting leads to not simply to momentary satisfaction but lasting joy in the love of God.

So hope is just as complex as joy or love. But rightly placed hope will never put one to shame. For rightly placed hope does not merely look to the future of what will be but simultaneously looks to the past of what has been finished in one’s place for one’s sins.

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