One Can Only Hope

Getting our hopes up

"Hope is the thing with feathers" says Emily Dickinson.

However, "riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven." (Proverbs 23:5)

In other words, don't trust in money. God knows we need it—as a tool, as a necessity in some circles—but never put your hope in it. This can be a hard lesson to learn. In developed countries, it's almost like the final frontier.

"And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in Thee." (Psalm 39:7)

There are seasons of life in which everything on which we rely (others, ourselves, money, to name three) vacillate, fluctuate and disappear. Know that each and every challenge we face ("Challenges of the Season" says my dad) is directed by God and lasts as long as He allows. Hope, however, is not touched by those things.

"Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil." (Hebrews 6:19)

Jesus is our hope, ladies and gentlemen. Prior to His life, death and resurrection (and ascension), we literally had no hope of ever getting fully right with God. Up till then, the sacred and profane were clearly defined and the slightest slip-up or astrayance (not an actual word) into that which God said was sinful was met with strict and sometimes dire consequences. Achan and his entire family were stoned and burned because he decided to covet—and then take—plunder from the city of Ai: "When I saw among the spoils...two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, the I coveted them, and took them; and behold, they are hid in the earth" (Joshua 7:21) Coveting is like a misplaced hope that eventually turns into theft. And that's an extreme example. Sure, there are still things that we daren't touch ("come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord" 2 Corinthians 6:17), but we don't have to worry about the mortal punishment that (now) doesn't seem to be in line with the crime. We don't even give a second thought to some of the things that concerned the Israelites. Life is now a "ministry of the interior". It's our motives and thoughts and internal attention (revealed in our actions) that God prizes. Faith. Hope. And Love.

There are all sorts of things to invest our hopes in, "But the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13)

In 1887, physician and linguist Dr. Ludwig Zamenhoff invented a new language based on European roots and intended to ease the many disparate speakers into a common tongue. It was called "Esperanto" and it literally means "hopeful". It was his hope that this common language—which apparently is easier to learn than any of the romance languages—would bridge the cultural gaps in his native country of Poland and then branch out from there. It never caught on as he'd hoped, but is still spoken today in places in Europe and some parts of Asia.

"I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in His word do I hope." (Psalm 130:5)

Faith, hope, love. While those three things work in concert with each other, love is the greatest because it is connected to a Person. And the more we actively exercise the faith and hope that we possess in getting to know the God who both loves us and fulfills our hopes, then the more we're able to convey that sense of hope amidst a world that is rapidly losing any reason to. Hope, that is.

Hope, along with faith and love, is a universal language. And when one can only hope, faith and love can't be far behind.