Hope refers to a feeling of desire for something to happen, something that could happen. Our daughter is getting married in two weeks and we hope that it does not rain that day. Maybe you’ve planned a trip to the art museum and as you get in the car you say – I sure hope it isn’t too crowded when we get there. On the other, statements like “I wish I could fly” or “I wish there were more hours in the day” express a desire for something that is unlikely or impossible. Both hoping and wishing convey some sense of doubt. The difference between the words lies in the probability or likelihood of the desire happening.
The Bible has quite a lot to say about hope. But unlike the way we use the word hope in modern conversation and vernacular, biblical hope does not convey any level of doubt. Instead it has as its foundation a confident faith in God. In the Old Testament the word hope most often comes from a Hebrew word meaning “confidence, safety, security.” Turning to the New Testament, we read these words in Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
The word hope in that verse is the Greek word “elpizō” which means “to fully expect, count upon, place confidence in.” In other words – there is no doubt about it!
When you have a desire of hope for good weather or an uncrowded museum, you also have a feeling of uncertainty. Biblical hope is not a feeling, it is a reality. Biblical hope is an assured confident expectation, a sure foundation upon which we can base our lives. It is looking forward to what God has promised and guaranteed.
Now that is more than just a wish!
New Bern, North Carolina