a confident expectation

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“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Faith and hope are inherently tied together in the life of a Christian.  I often hear preachers define hope as a “confident expectation.”  They go on to demonstrate all the differences between modernity’s use of the word ‘hope’ and that of the Biblical writers.  I’m no Greek scholar — I learned just enough Greek in school to confuse you a little and me a lot — but I don’t know that we have to distinguish so much between the hope of today and the hope of 2000 years ago.  It didn’t take me long, flipping through the pages of my Bible, to find instances in which the Pharisees hoped to catch Jesus saying something they could use against him,  the crowds hoped to see another miracle, or the Jews had yet again put their hope in their ancestors.

It’s not that I don’t buy the phrase “confident expectation” as the definition of the Greek word; I do.  I just don’t think our biggest problem in terms of hope is our definition.  The problem isn’t that we replace a confident expectation with a mere wish — it’s that we confidently expect that which will never come to fruition.  We’re hoping (using the Biblical definition) money will make us happy.  We’re hoping power will satisfy our innermost desires.  And we’re hoping our own “goodness” will save us.

But what we are confidently expecting will only disappoint us. He who cooks with false hopes today will tomorrow feast on shattered dreams.

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

In faith we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, in the coming fullness of the kingdom, in reaching our intended state, and in finally being at home with God.  Hope for the Christian is a confident expectation.  When we hope in the promises of God, we look forward to their fulfillment; we anticipate their coming.  Hope encourages us and empowers us.  It motivates us and strengthens us.  Hope in God does not disappoint us.

But any hope can encourage and empower us, motivate and strengthen us.  It’s that line about hope in God not disappointing us that’s so very important.  Hope is hope, whether it’s for an ice cream cone, a new car, a college education, or a bigger salary.  Our actions always, and at all times, necessarily reflect our hopes.  All of us are confidently expecting something, and we daily live out of those expectations.  But there exists only one hope which will in the end find it’s fulfillment.

Faith and hope are inherently tied together in the life of a Christian… and in the life of every other individual.  But all faith and hope not grounded firmly in God will disappoint.  God, help us to fix our eyes on you, and give us the ability to hope only in you.

*This post was begun as part of another post — faith, hope, and love — but quickly became too long and took focus away from the intended subject of love.  Now it stands on its own.



Filed under musings on the Word

7 responses to “a confident expectation

  1. I like this. So what you are saying is that there are all kinds of hope in all kinds of things, but the one that will never disappoint us is our hope (and faith) in God?

    To me, that definition for hope above (confident expectations) only applies to hope in God. It is the only hope I have in which I am confident. All my others are wide open. They could go either way.

    • i think i poorly said what i intended. we have visitors in town, and i was rushed in writing. what i mean to say is that every day we base what we do and how we act on what it is that we confidently expect. whether we admit it or not, the decisions we make today reflect our innermost beliefs about life.

      so the problem isn’t that we “wish” for a home with God; it’s that we honestly and confidently expect money to make us happy. we live our lives based on that hope (and it’s not a wish).

      so i do believe that only a confident expectation in the things of God will be satisfied. but, still, we’re confidently expecting all kinds of other things — we just don’t want to admit it. [by “we” i mean the majority of us.] we expect (and confidently so) marriage to provide us with enough love to cure our hurts, we expect (and confidently so) that a raise of a certain amount will solve our money problems, and we expect (confidently so) that retirement will bring us ultimate satisfaction. etc.

      what do you think?

      • I agree. And you are right that we DO have confident expectations every day – and that we may not even be admitting them. I see what you mean by this now.

        Now I’m trying to figure out what mine are – the confident expectations I have from day to day. But I do believe a life where the hope in a home with God one day is truly alive, would be evident of that hope. Which is something else to ask myself too. Do I live that way?

        • i think for me, i struggle with confidently expecting that i’ll be happy if i can achieve just one more thing. in many ways i’m addicted to conquest — climbing the next mountain, running a longer race, winning one more soccer match, etc….

  2. Kim

    So true. He is our reward, not the next great thing.

    • we’re always looking for the next great thing…

      and we want to make God into either the next best thing — or often we improve on that just a little, and make him the last best thing. but rarely do we see him as the best thing itself.

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