Suggested Reading: Ephesians 1:15-23
Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you—Ephesians 1:18
We have explored hope as a glorious promise of God which he has recorded for us that we may know the power of promise and hope, but now let’s look at hope as Paul speaks of here, the state of the enlightened heart, and understood not only as a promise but as a calling.
God has called you to a hope that is better than any other hope. A hope that has lasting and firm foundation. It is not a hope that comes from anything the world contrives; no human could create the kind of hope God has ordained. God’s hope is part of the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, evidence of his immeasurable greatness of his power. We don’t hang our hopes on the things of this world that can be seen or touched. For as the writer of Hebrews says that kind of hope, hope that is seen is no hope at all (Heb.11:1) but heavenly hope is a hope that cannot be contained nor configured by mere human thought or calculation.
The dictionary definition of hope is as “an optimistic attitude of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to event and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.”
So, hope is confident expectation which says even though today looks bleak and tomorrow looks even worse; even though life is going lousy and everything is falling apart; even though I have received a terrible report form my medical doctor; even though my marriage is not as happy or solid as I would want it to be; even though my career is in a stalled place; even though my children are not cooperating or rebelling against parental authority; even though the bills are piling up…yet I have hope. I am confident that tomorrow or in the near future things will be much better, circumstances and life will look up.
When the Christian has that kind of hope it is not a false hope as the world would accuse, but confidence of hope in the God for whom nothing is too hard or complicated, for whom nothing is beneath or beyond and if we will be patient to wait on God, he will come through because he always does; remember, he never breaks a promise (I Cor. 1:20). As Solomon wrote, “Hope deferred makes us sick at heart but when that hope is fulfilled, when our hearts desire has come to life it is like a tree of life taking root, and a flower blooming before our eyes! (Pro. 13:12) [my summary!]
In order to be full of hope, persevere in hope, and not become hopeless as so many in this world do—and who can blame them? What is there to hope in or hang onto that the world can offer or promise?—we must place our hope in a source greater than this world can offer. Paul said you can only find that kind of hope in Jesus who, himself is hope (I Timothy 1:1) We need the hope of Jesus in order to remain hopeful when we encounter those who are lost in their disappointment—and life can be disappointing! We have to stay focused on the true source of hope, because many will discount our hope, will question our hope, will even doubt our soundness of mind and pity us.
The hope which is place on Christ—who is hope—is more than wishing and dreaming. We are not crossing our fingers or wishing upon a star far off in the blackened sky or galaxy, but hope becomes the basis of our faith. Remember Hebrews 1:1, “faith is the assurance of things not see…Why would one hope in what he or she can see, but in hope, with hope, we wait for what we do not know”
To keep us hopeful God shows us his glory and goodness. It is his turn the hopeless into the hopeful so he performs miracles and wonders. He wants the hopeless to know life isn’t over until it’s over; do not throw I the towel but keep hanging on, the best is yet to come.
Anne Frank wrote in her now classic “Diary of a Young Girl, “I don’ think of all the misery, but the beauty that still remains.” She could have focused on their difficult life and the prospect of being discovered , her family torn apart, being imprisoned or put to death. Each day this very real prospect met them at its beginning, clung to them all day and accompanied them as they readied for bed. But she had found, as had Paul, and ourselves, that hope cannot come from within, not even from without or it will fail us, but only in God and through Christ.
The hopeful heart knows and has settled on the truth that God is bigger and greater than any problem and all difficulty is temporal whether it feels such or not. As Paul wrote in Romans 15 “Jesus is the God of hope.” (15:13)
God’s call to hope is not a call to a philosophy or ideology, it is not a call to denial or imagination, superstition, or ignorance, but in the solidness of God himself. To accept God’s high call to hope will distinguish you and set you apart from this hopeless, despairing world. And as we have read so often “and hope will not disappoint you” (Rom. 5:5). Let’s Pray,
Dear God, amidst this dark world you have planted beacons of light which point to you as our living, true, lasting and trustworthy hope. Be wit hall who are feeling or on the verge of hopelessness today. Fill them with hope anew, help them to find that reason to keep going, keep pushing, keep hoping and believing, not in themselves or this world but in Christ alone who is our living, loving, solid hope upon whom we can build and lay a firm foundation and in whose name we pray, Amen.