If I asked you right now, “What are you hoping for?” what would you say? I imagine I would hear a variety of responses: a job, a spouse, nicer weather tomorrow, healing from the flu, healing from chronic pain, that the kids would make it through a Target run without a meltdown.
These are all perfectly normal answers. Each is a good and healthy desire that impacts your here and now, your daily life.
Now, if I asked you, “What are you hoping in?” what would you say? I’m guessing that I would hear another array of responses: Jesus Christ, God, the promises of Scripture, the Holy Spirit’s guidance, God’s presence.
When we hope for something, it’s usually something of this world, something tangible and positive. Hoping in something is a little more ambiguous.
What Scripture Shows Us
The Bible has a lot to say about hope, far more than I have space to write! In the Old and New Testaments, we see plenty of people hoping for good and godly things, but when the Bible talks about what we should hope in, there is only one answer: the Triune God.
Over and over Scripture shows that our hope resides in God, in His steadfast love, the promises of His Word, and in Jesus Christ. The Psalms, in particular, declare this hope:
“Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (Psalm 43:5 ESV),
“O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption” (Ps. 130:7 ESV)
“Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love” (Ps. 33:18 ESV).
So, what does it look like practically to hope in God? Biblical hope in God carries a temporal and an eternal perspective with it. It’s not always about hoping that He will help us here on earth or will allow our life to work out, although that is a wonderful hope to have.
Our deepest, truest hope in God is rooted in God Himself and the eternity we spend with Him far beyond this life. The best outcomes in this world pale in comparison to the life that is to come when we will be face-to-face with Jesus.
Placing our hope in Him means staking our claim on the promises He has made to us – in this life and after this life. Hoping in God means safely placing our expectations of good things to come in His hands. Sometimes the good is revealed to us in this life, but not always, which is why it is important to tether our hope to the promise of eternity as well.
A Future Hope
All throughout the Bible, God drops little promises and hints of things that are to come in the life that is to come: streets of gold, rivers of life, orchards, peace, health, light radiating from God Himself, endless days with Jesus, and much more.
The Bible promises a total restoration of everything ever touched by sin, disease, the devil, corruption, loss and death (Rev. 21:4-7), and it promises that our life with Christ will be good beyond our wildest dreams (1 Cor 2:9). There will be a day when this earth, the one that we currently live on today, will pass away and a new heaven and renewed earth will stand in its place (Rev 21:1) where we will live forever with Christ.
Isaiah 65 talks at length about this reality that God calls us to hope in.“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create;” (Is 65:18 ESV).
As we set our hope in God, we are infused with joy and confidence that can outlast any trial here on earth. If we receive the good things we hope for in this life, we can give thanks to God. And if things in our material world don’t play out the way we had hoped, our eternal hope rises above our circumstances and remains fixed on our certain eternal future.
God helps our eyes to stay focused on dwelling with Jesus in a “better country” (Heb 11:16 ESV) so that we can get through anything here on earth, regardless of how things turn out.
Friend, if your hope reserves are running low because life doesn’t seem to be going the way you had planned, God invites you to hang your hope on the certain reality of eternity with Him. I don’t know what you’re hoping for right now. Maybe it’s healing in a broken relationship or that tonight’s dinner cooking in the crock pot turns out well. Maybe it’s for physical restoration. Whatever it is, I do know this: hoping in God never disappoints. Eternity with Christ is our unchanging future; it is good and it is ours forever.