“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.”Hebrews 11:1 (NET)
It was one of the worst days of my life. Tragedy struck our family in the worst way, and I was emotionally paralyzed. That’s when my friend Mary stepped in to do what I couldn’t. She made me a hotel reservation, called the necessary people and said, “It’s going to be OK.”
In that moment, I was flooded with supernatural peace as I felt the Lord speaking through Mary. Her statement was not a dismissal of my pain or the complexity of the situation; however, something greater happened. The peace and comfort of God was somehow found in that statement in the middle of my storm.
“It’s going to be OK” is one of the most hope-filled sentiments I can offer to others and choose to believe for myself. The writer of Hebrews says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). That’s where hope comes from.
Of course, for the Christian, there is the future hope of eternity with God. But there is also hope for the here and now. We have the assurance, the evidence of things not seen, that no matter what happens, God is still on His throne.
What is biblical hope? It is tethering to the future what we know about God’s past faithfulness. In defining faith as “being sure of what we hope for,” the writer of Hebrews gives us an insight into hope, but let’s chew on it a bit.
Biblical hope is not a wish. A wish is something we want to have or to happen. “I wish I had a bigger house.” “I wish I could go to Spain.” “I wish I had a smaller waist.” Maybe it will happen one day, but maybe it won’t.
In contrast, biblical hope is a certainty that our ultimate future rests in God’s capable and loving hands. It is an assurance that the invisible God is faithful and has a good plan in my visible life.
Old Testament writers used several Hebrew words for hope. One is qawa, which means “hope” in the sense of trust, as when the prophet Jeremiah said to God, “… our hope is in you …” (Jeremiah 14:22d, NIV). New Testament writers used the Greek word hupomeno for hope. It means to wait, to be patient, to endure, to persevere under misfortunes and trials, to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ.
We get a picture of hope, as these biblical words define it, in the life of the Apostle Paul. Paul encountered struggle after struggle, but he never lost hope that everything was going to be OK, and he assured others of the same. (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)
Here’s the thing, though: Unless someone has struggled through traumatic situations themselves, I don’t really believe them when they tell me, “It’s going to be OK.” My knee-jerk reaction is, “How do you know?” Unless they truly understand, the words fall flat. When you aren’t ashamed to tell your darkest moments but freely reveal how God brought you through, you become believable. Hope becomes conceivable. Then you become a hope-giver.
Sometimes, it may take years to put back the pieces the wrecking ball of pain has caused. The atrocities we’ve endured may tempt us to believe that someone other than God is writing our stories. But God has the power to redeem what we consider unredeemable. To heal what we consider fatally wounded. To make our worst chapters our greatest victories. And then to fashion us into hope-givers who are believable, vulnerable and beautiful when we tell one another, “It’s going to be OK.”
When tragedy tears our hearts out, when untimely death cracks the foundation of our faith, when abuse mars all that is good, we mourn. We grieve the loss. But we mustn’t allow the story to stop there. I type these words with tears in my eyes because I have lived them. Hear me when I say, “It’s going to be OK – you’re going to be OK.” God has more to write.
God, I trust You. No matter what happens this side of heaven, I know it’s going to be OK because You have a purpose and a plan. I might not like the situation or understand the observation, but I trust You without reservation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.