What is hope?
Published 11:53 am Thursday, January 4, 2024
Before we look at what my friends had to say about hope, consider this newspaper ad: “Hope chest: Brand new, half price, long story.”
Instead of a long story, try a long time, says Megan, age 7: “I think hope is when you wish for something to go a certain way, and sometimes you have to wait for a long time.”
While Megan waits, Richard, 9, gets another at bat: “Hope is another chance to do something, like if your baseball game is tied, you still have hope to win.” And Austin, 5, sees hope slithering through the grass: “I hope I can get a pet snake.”
The word “hope” in the Bible expresses confidence and assurance concerning the future because it’s based on God’s promises, character and faithfulness. As Will, 10, says, “Hope is to look forward to something with a feeling of expectation or confidence. Christians always know they have hope because they have God in their hearts.”
When Jesus rose from the dead, the inner reality of sensing God’s presence through the indwelling Holy Spirit replaced the old way of relating to God through outward temple rituals. God has poured out his Spirit upon all his people and written his law on their hearts, just as Hebrew prophets predicted (Joel 2 and Jeremiah 31).
Hope isn’t pie in the sky; it’s practical, says Justin, 10: “Hope is talking to God every day, expecting an answer. Hope is having Jesus to talk to. Hope is being satisfied with what God has given you.”
Remember the feeling of Christmas morning? “Hope is a thing that makes you feel kind of good inside, sort of like you’re going to get a gift,” says David, 9.
Every day can be like Christmas morning for Christians who realize the best is yet to come. This kind of hope asks questions like “What new adventure does God have for me today?” and “I wonder what God is up to in this or that situation.”
Christians have trusted the Lord Jesus with their eternal destiny, but many live like atheists because their thinking and actions are devoid of hope: the confident expectation that God is working in and through them to carry out his plan.
In addition to living an adventure with God, hope will purify your life. It’s the difference between knowing your boss is on a long vacation and knowing he could walk into the workplace at any moment. Christians who live in eager expectation of being translated into another realm at any moment will put off every temporal distraction to follow the One to whom they belong.
“Hope can be powered by Satan or by God,” says Madeline, 11. “Let your hope be controlled by God.”
“Hope is what you believe, but you cannot see it,” says Charlotte, 10. Yes, hope and faith are cousins, says Lauren, 9: “Hope is faith; it is a thing to help you set your goals. Hope helps you to believe in Christ.”
My favorite explanation of hope comes from Nikki, 9, who says: “Hope is having a kind of grace.”
Think about this: The Apostle Paul preached a message of hope that turned a mighty Roman Empire upside down. Through arrests, false accusations and beatings, he displayed an uncommon grace that bore witness to the hope within him.
Memorize this truth: “Hope is God’s gift to us,” says Amal, 10. Yes, God’s gift of hope is a person: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
Ask this question: Who is powering your hope?
(Kids Talk About God is designed for families to study the Bible together. Research shows that parents who study the Bible with their children give their character, faith and spiritual life a powerful boost. Bless your friends!)