My friend posted a question on Facebook in her status which read,
“When does hope become nothing more than fantasy?”
For several of us, we are left asking the same question. My mind has wondered about this question tonight, for several reasons. Mostly due to the fact that I feel, lately, as if all hope is lost.
There are three great words in the Bible; perhaps it is one of my most treasured verses. It reads, “And now abides faith, hope, and love…” There are plenty of references in the Bible having to do with faith. In fact, it is mentioned 402 times. And there is an abundant amount of times, approximately 697 times, that the word love is mentioned. However, the word hope is only mentioned 159 times, leaving hope begging a bit to understand its wonder.
The very word ‘hope’ is like turning on a light in the darkness. It’s like bringing joy into a sorrowful situation. Life without hope is bleak. 1 Corinthians 15:19 reads, “If in life only you have hope, you are of all men most miserable.” The severest misery, the severest reality of misery, is when hope is only in this life. If you don’t have anything to hope for beyond this life, that is the supreme misery because this life is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. This life is at best very, very brief, and full of trouble. And if all your hope is tied only to what happens here, that is a severe misery.
Hebrews 6 states, “Hope that is an anchor for the soul,” a real hope. Any hope that is outside of God is a false hope, a fantasy. Job 8:13 says, “The hypocrites hope will perish.” Job 27:8 says, “For what is the hope of the hypocrite when God takes away his soul?” Job 31:24, “If I have made gold my hope, or said to the fine gold, ‘you are my confidence,’ then I have denied the God above.” Proverbs 10:28 says, “The hope of the righteous shall be gladness, but the hope of the wicked shall perish.”
Romans 8:23 says, “And not only this but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even ourselves groan within ourselves,” and I love this phrase, “waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body, for in hope we have been saved. But hope that is seen is not hope. Why does one also hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see with perseverance, we wait eagerly for it.”
Salvation, yes, the greatest part of which is yet unrealized. That is all bound up in our hope. It is wonderful to experience the joys of salvation presently, but they cannot be compared with that which God has prepared for us when our hope becomes reality. The true benefits of salvation are yet unrealized, we hold to them by hope. They are yet to be ours in their fullness.
Our hope comes from God. Our hope is in God. It is no less than God. It is not in men, it is in God. It is not in our dreams, it is in God. It is not in anything that we can tangibly grasp or comprehend, it is in God. It is in the unchanging God. The God who is never ever subject to alteration. The God who has spoken truth and cannot speak anything other than the truth. Our hope is in God.
Psalms 43:5 says this, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? Why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God.”
Things in my life aren’t what they should be nor what I would like them to be. Things are not the way I planned them and so I easily become despairing and disturbed BUT the psalmist says, “Stop that and hope in God.” It is because God has made promises of care and concern and protection and guidance and direction and sustenance that we can trust Him for a better tomorrow. Psalm 78:7 reads, “He is the one worthy of our hope.”
Just as our faith is believing God for what He said just because He said it, so our hope is believing God for what He promised just because He promised it. We need not earn hope, it is a gracious gift given to us. God is the source of that gift. God is the one who gives us something to hope for. God is the one who gives us everything to hope for.
As a professing Christian, I am going to be attacked. I will be engaged in a battle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness… I am going to be engaged in a real battle with forces that are greater than me. And that battle is going to come on many, many levels – through relationships, children, strangers, church-goers, co-workers… simply put, society. And doubt will be cast my way but I have on the helmet, which is the hope of salvation. Hope then defends us against attacks. Trials actually then have a way of affirming our hope, strengthening our hope, and making our hope brighter. It is the element of joy, the purest joy, for in it we find truth from the One that cannot lie.
When we have hope in Him, we know that God is a rock, unchangeable, covenant-keeping, sovereign, and no one can hinder His unfolding purpose.
Colossians 1:5, “A hope laid up for you in heaven.”
“… No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 In other words, my hope rest in the Truth of what is to come, from who was, who is, and who will always be, the source of my hope.
Therefore, to answer my friends question, if my ‘hope’ is tied up and bound up in anything other than what is God or comes from God it is fantasy, false hope.
My hope is not lost, it is in God!
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.” ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:16
P.S. This is not a sermon to my friend, she knows the Truth, this was merely helping me realize that my hope is not lost and where I need turn my eyes.
Sources: John MacArthur and Brent McMillan