The Big Three
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”
-1 Corinthians 13:13
Today we will explore the concept of hope.
The Greek word for hope is ἐλπὶς. At its most basic, ἐλπὶς means an expectation of the good.
The Christian hope is to expect that good is yet to come.
In essence, hope is the difference between having an optimistic or a pessimistic view of the future.
Sarah often makes fun of me on rainy days. She does not like cold, rainy winter days (kind of like today)! As she comments on the rain, without thinking, I always say, “Yeah, but I bet tomorrow is going to be sunny!”
In reality, I have no idea if the sun is coming out tomorrow. It may very well rain again tomorrow. But my natural expectation is that the rain will not last.
Our world can be a challenging place to live. We deal with sickness, depression and violence. It is natural to wonder, “Is it going to keep raining? Will things actually get better?”
The Christian witness believes that God is in control of the future. And the future is bright. Things will get better. Pain does not last. Eventually the rain stops (unless you live in Seattle). To believe this is to believe in the Christian concept of hope.
At the end of his letter to the Romans, Paul writes these words:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Pay attention to how Paul describes God. God is the God of hope. Hope is a defining characteristic of the nature of God. We are made in God’s image. Therefore, we are created to be people of hope. God desires that we overflow with hope.
What a powerful image. To overflow is to run beyond one’s limits. Like a river overflowing its banks or water pouring out of a cup. Overflowing is a image of abundance.
An abundance of hope is what God has in mind for us.
Let’s do a quick check in—how hopeful are you feeling right now?
I bet you feel a mixture of emotions in attempting to answer that question. There are parts of your life that fill you with optimism and excitement. There are other parts that fill you with cynicism or negativity. It’s completely natural to feel both feelings.
To hope does not mean that you are satisfied with how things are today. There is plenty of injustice present in the world that should not continue into tomorrow. To hope is to work towards a brighter future with the confidence that God is working towards that as well.
Together, as people of Unity, may we walk in the expectation of the good.
This Sunday we will continue our GO series by studying a little known man named Manean.
I hope to see you then!