by Elizabeth de Barros
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
— Romans 5:2
Hope is much grander than its B-class status suggests.
It is not about barely scraping by with a half-crooked smile. Nor is it a matter of crossing your fingers, shutting your eyes real tight and counting to ten, wishing with all your might that things will work out in your favor. That’s the stuff of cynics and innocent but näive children.
No, hope is reserved for greater things. The impossible. Poverty. Cancer. Wartime. Resurrection and a future glory. It is the silent hero in the epic drama of life. It’s what carried the ancients through their darkest days. What gave strength to those who endured the atrocities of the Holocaust. And what shielded those who withstood the brutality at Normandy. The pregnant woman who decides against having an abortion to instead become a mother.
Václav Havel once said,
“Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”
His was a willing attempt to lift hope from history’s gutter, and to which I can clap. But I want to pin it even higher to the mast, let its blazing colors fly.
For starters, it is not as though hope originates from within man’s inner recesses. Hope is a God thing; it doesn’t stem from man at all. It is the symbiotic twin of faith — without it, faith dies, and without faith, hope dies. Where faith is found, hope resides also, and it is what gives the eyes of the heart something to see. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Hope was never meant to be Saturday’s errand boy. It’s too big for that. It is the loyal employee to a thousand generations whose reputation is noted in Heaven for its impressive resume on earth. Hope is what kept prisoners alive in the Gulag. It is the smile on the face of the destitute and it is what God gives a family when they lose a loved one. It is the mysterious underside to all life’s sufferings.
But hope’s marquee, what outshines all else, comes from the original deep waters of having faith in Christ. This is something to sing, dance, and shout about — even on the loneliest of days when the clouds won’t part. Hope is what swells in my being because I have Him. As the Psalmist wrote, “Whom have I in heaven but You, and earth has nothing I desire besides You.”
Hope is the passageway that leads to life. It is the welcome archway that extends itself to the poor, tired traveler into another country and says, “Come, find rest for your soul.” It is the gateway to further investigation and surrender. Yes, it is all these things, but it is more. It is Christ in me, the hope of glory.
A royal robe is reserved in my heart for no Other.
Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
—1 John 3:3