Hope is an active verb.
It’s official: I’m moving. You may or may not know that I do not like where I live. There’s no area to entertain, no internet, no carpet, no meat, no couch. That was tolerable for a while, but the holidays are coming, I’m settling into life and I need more yeses. God is so good. He heard me and provided. I’m moving into a two bedroom one bathroom with another gal close in age to me, and the timing can’t be more perfect. Holidays are just around the corner, and I’m excited to put up lights and surround myself with friends, in a comfy, cozy apartment. With a couch.
But, this is not only His physical provision for me, but also an opportunity for Him to teach me something. In the Bible, Paul talks a lot about the hope that we have in Jesus: “we exult in the hope of the glory of God;” “hope does not disappoint;” “we have fixed our hope on the Living God;” “our hope in heaven” etc. I’ve always been befuddled by hope – in the English language, it usually expresses an uncertainly. You hope to get that new bike for Christmas, but you don’t know until Christmas morning. You hope it will work out with that beautiful woman, but you don’t know until you walk down the aisle. You hope for, but don’t know it will happen.
This, in my life, has created a lack of dependence on the future. I think that even if I hope for something, I probably won’t receive it, so there’s really no point. That trickles over into my relationship with God. Why should I be consumed with the hope of my future glory, if my past experiences tell me otherwise? Hoping just sets me up for disappointment.
Let’s go back to this whole apartment thing. I’m so excited about it that life is easier now. I cleaned my room, I organized (some) stuff, I’m writing again, I can be at home for longer periods of time. All of which is a direct result of my anticipation for moving. My hope in moving.
In this experience, I’m hoping for a new place to live (and tonite I’m doubly sure that I’m moving in), and my life has directly changed because of it. I think this is the transformative hope that Paul talks about. We rejoice in it, we exult in it, we meditate on it, and it spurs us on to different behavior, because of the assurance it brings. Even though the time has not yet arrived, and I have only seen glimpses of what life will be like, I am so excited to move that I am motivated to prepare for it, and my life is already reflective of what it could possibly look like.
That’s the hope Paul talks about. Even though it has not yet come to fruition, it will. And, we have the assurance, the guarantee it will in our faith. And in that, our life changes. We expect, we prepare, we even reflect what life will possibly be like when we reach glory. That’s what hope does. It changes our mindset so that we transform.
Sometimes you expect one thing from God, but He uses it for another purpose as well. Awesome.