Hope is a key element in faith; it’s often what keeps us going through trials and testing. Paul told the Corinthians that ‘now these three remain: faith, hope and love’ (1 Cor 13:13), and he speaks frequently of the power of hope to sustain and enable us to endure.
It was because of his hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ that Paul was arrested and put on trial. (Acts 23:6, Acts 24:15, Acts 26:6, Acts 28:20) Yet he affirmed that ‘we boast in the hope of the glory of God’ (Rom 5:2), finding hope in the ultimate fulfilment of prophecy as he waited for God. (Rom 8:23-25) Hope kept him going throughout persecution, opposition, injustice and imprisonment. He kept hoping for deliverance and knew he could trust God in every situation. (2 Cor 1:9-10)
Hope is desperately needed in our world today. Without God, we are without hope. (Eph 2:12). We identify with Job in his suffering: ‘My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they come to an end without hope. (Job 7:6) One of the problems people have faced over the past year is that they feel they have no hope. Illness, insecurity, the loss of freedom, financial anxiety, loneliness, the loss of familiarity and security have all led to a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness which has been evidenced by mental health suffering, unemployment rising and desperation becoming the norm for so many people. How can we keep going when there is so much uncertainty and despair around us?
God’s word speaks hope into our lives. It reminds us that God has not forgotten us and that we do not have to live merely by sight, but can let faith become our sight. If Paul could endure hardship and persecution with hope and joy, then we too can be sustained by God in exactly the same way. Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Trust in God and wait patiently for Him.