Hope Is Not a Wish

Do you ever wonder about the words we use, what they really mean, and why we use them? Take hope for example. People often use the word "hope" to mean something like a wish. "I hope you feel better." "I hope it doesn't rain at the game tomorrow." "I hope we get home on time." Such a definition has no power. It's like sending someone happy thoughts, as though our thoughts alone could do something to heal a person or hold back the rain or make the roads free from traffic. 

And often our hopes let us down. We hope for dreams to come true, and they crash to the earth, shattered into pieces. We hope for a better day today than the one we had yesterday, only to find that we are living out the 90s classic, Groundhog Day. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Real Hope

The Bible, however, uses the word "hope" in a more certain and concrete way—not as a wish but as though hope is a real thing. As though it is tangible, something we can grasp, and like it is a foregone conclusion.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Rom. 15:13).

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain (Heb. 6:19).

Such hope isn’t a wish. It isn't a strong feeling sent out into the universe that boomerangs back with our desires on a platter. It’s not crossing our fingers and thinking positive thoughts. Instead, Christian hope is an assurance. It is inexorably linked to our faith (1 Cor. 13:13; Heb. 11:1). Hope is belief that God’s promises will come to pass. Ultimately, our hope is found in a person: Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the fulfillment of all God’s promises. He is our hope because only He accomplished what we could not do. He lived a perfect righteous life. He bore the weight of our sins on the cross as He suffered and died. As the perfect Son of God, He defeated death and rose triumphantly from the grave. He proved in His life, death, and resurrection that He alone is our hope. 

As the old hymn goes:

My hope is built on nothing less
   than Jesus' blood and righteousness. 
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, 
   but wholly lean on Jesus' name. 

Hope Now and Forever

Christ gives us hope both now in the present and in the future. All that Christ is and all that He has done gives us hope in our daily life as we live out the realities of the gospel each day. The good news of His life, death, and resurrection anchor us as we face temptation, battle sin, and endure suffering. We have the hope of Christ living within us, as His Spirit encourages, instructs, and guides us in our life of faith.

When the rough winds of trials blow into our lives, Christ is our hope. When the uncertainties of life in a fallen world threaten to drown us, Christ is our hope. When we are overwhelmed and feel helpless over our sin, Christ is our hope. When temptations encircle us from every side, Christ is our hope. He is our constant hope in all things.

His oath, his covenant, his blood
   supports me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
   he then is all my hope and stay.

We also have a future hope that awaits us in eternity. It is the final installment of all that Christ purchased for us at the cross. “So that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7). This is what our present hope points to. Life eternal. Heaven. Perfection. No more sorrow, tears, or brokenness. Joy forever and ever in the presence of our Savior. 

Because we have hope now and in the future, the apostle Peter urges us to live out that hope: “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13, emphasis mine). We are to live holy lives now, in anticipation of all that is to come.

Words have many meanings, including the word “hope.” When we as believers use the word hope, it's not merely a positive or happy thought. It's not a wish we say while crossing our fingers. It's not a desire or dream that flutters just out of reach. Our hope is an anchor we can grasp and cling to. It is real, lasting, and secure. It is found in our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

About the Author

Christina Fox

Christina Fox

Christina Fox is a speaker, writer, and author of several books includeing: Closer Than a Sister; Idols of a Mother’s Heart; and Sufficient Hope: Gospel Meditations and Prayers for Moms. She received her Masters in Counseling from Palm Beach … read more …

Join the Discussion