Hope is an odd word. It sounds like wishing but not quite assuming. Holding your breath with anticipation more than fear. To believe that this situation, this place I find myself in right now, is only temporary, and that my life can and will be more than it is at this moment.
When people used to ask me what my hopes were, I think I confused them for dreams. I would list off things that I wished to do or goals I had for myself. But it wasn’t until I traversed some difficult and painful times in my life that I realized hope is something else altogether. It is the ability to recognize my capacity for change and to acknowledge that even if my situation isn’t altered, that doesn’t mean my perspective won’t be redirected.
In a spiritual sense, hope is far more more than wishful thinking but I think there is still the danger of falling into that self deceit. It is natural to assume that if there is something good that we want in life that God will give it to us, because he loves us. We are told to hope in him, but no where does the Bible say that gets us whatever we want. Hope is to realize that God has a plan for me, even beyond my ability to comprehend, and accept that it may look different than my own agenda for myself, yet still feel confident that God knows better than I do.
I think that may be a key component in hope that I often miss. I have to remember that God, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, in his perfection and timelessness, can see the whole picture clearly. Where I know only the scene I am in with merely scraps of dialogue known by heart and improvising the rest, he is the author and the playwright. Does that mean that when I don’t get what I desire my hope has been in vain? No! But to experience the peace and confidence that accompanies my hope I must be willing to yield my own plans and desires to God, even if I do not understand the outcome. This is not a comfortable place but an infinitely secure one.