Whether you find your likeness in fiction or Scripture, the story of us seems to be motivated by hope. Hope for something better in ourselves, in others, and in the world around us.
But all of us have been disappointed in those at one time or another, haven't we Dear Reader?
We worked hard and hoped we'd get that promotion. We checked forecasts and made reservations, hoping the weather would be pleasant for our once a year vacation. We hauled our young athletes to endless practices and ballgames, and hoped they would earn scholarships to colleges of their choice.
We seemingly did everything right, and yet not all of our hopes manifested themselves in the ways we thought they would.
The Apostle Paul knew about dashed hopes, too. He probably hoped for a sea journey without incident, and instead was shipwrecked. Paul was probably hoping that a group of Jewish leaders would back off, but they continued to dog his steps, getting him thrown in jail more than once.
Paul figured out, and encourages us, that it is only our hope in the Lord that never disappoints.
This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to us.
Romans 5:5 GNT
And then there's David, shepherd turned king, whose personal victories and screw-ups are laid out for all to see. He was wrongly tracked down like an outlaw, and basically ordered the murder of his lover's husband. His family had all kinds of crazy going on. And yet, it seems David always returned to hope in the Lord, and exhorts us to do the same.
I depend on God alone; I put my hope in him.
Psalm 62:5 GNT
Be strong, be courageous,
all you that hope in the Lord.
Psalm 31:24 GNT
Maybe it was getting a college degree, but childcare, transportation, and tuition seemed insurmountable. Or launching your own business and despite a prime location, media blitz, and endorsement by the Chamber of Commerce, the customers just didn't come. Perhaps it was trying to connect with an estranged child when all efforts were rebuffed or ignored.
I've been there, too, Dear Reader!
I wonder if the Apostle Paul knew what it's like, too. Perhaps in his letter to the Romans, Paul was working out what hope meant to him, and why.
When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do.
Romans 4: 18a MSG
My prayer is for the hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ empower you whether it's through the everyday challenges of life, or in pursuing the dream of a lifetime.