Have you ever noticed how a person’s attitude can make a huge difference? When someone can no longer live on their own and is forced into Assisted Living or Nursing Care, their attitude can make an enormous difference in how well they adjust. When someone is healing from serious illness or injury, it has often been shown that those with a positive attitude toward the healing process will often heal faster. When someone holds onto hope, it changes things!
A word of hope from a friend (or even from a stranger) can brighten someone’s day. Therefore, it is a good practice to regularly say to others, “I hope you have a nice day!”
When we say that, what is meant by the word “hope”? It is a wishful expectation. It may or may not happen, but our desire would be that it would. We want them to have a nice day.
The Bible sometimes uses the word hope in that way. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome he said, “I have strongly desired for many years to come to you whenever I travel to Spain. For I hope to see you when I pass through, and to be assisted by you for my journey there” (Romans 15:23-24). As Paul wrote these words, did he know whether this goal would be accomplished? No, but he had a wishful expectation (a hope) that it would turn out this way.
Although we normally use the word hope the same way that Paul did here, the Bible typically uses hope in a different sense. Most often when hope is spoken of in the Bible, it is not a “wishful expectation” but a “confident expectation.” Take the Apostle Paul’s words to the Colossians as an example, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints because of the hope reserved for you in heaven. You have already heard about this hope in the message of truth, the gospel that has come to you” (Colossians 1:3-6).
Is “the hope reserved for you in heaven” wishful thinking, or is it a confident expectation? Jesus tells us, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God” (John 3:16-18).
Through faith in Jesus, the hope of heaven is not wishful thinking, but a sure and certain reality. Then why is it called hope? Because we aren’t there yet! It is still coming in our future. Therefore, heaven is a hope, an expectation. And as the Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, “This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5).
Hope changes everything! Not just our attitude through the trials of life, but hope in Jesus changes our eternity! Through faith in Jesus, may we live in the hope (confident expectation) of our eternity in heaven!
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