March 21, 2023
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations…” (Romans 4:18, NIV).
“I got my hug!”
I had not seen her in a while. Her husband had been one of my dear friends with medical problems that complicated COVID and took his life last year.
“I was so blessed,” she said. “I was dreaming about him, just like when he was healthy. In that dream he gave me this wonderful hug.”
I told her, “That was no dream. It was a promise.”
There is that which we dream of and that which we should expect.
What’s the difference in a “wish,” “worldly hope,” “Christian hope” and “faith?”
When we wish for something, we open our hearts with a desire for something we want in the future.
Worldly hope would then take that wish and watch for it with longing, and with varied levels of expectation based on the evidence.
Christian hope is a desire born from a promise of God, infused with faith, leading to a confidence that it will come true.
Faith is trusting the One who gives us the promise.
We can so often get these confused when our hearts are involved.
I see patients in my practice who wish for health, and others, including myself, who wish God would fix very important matters without a promise from God. They then make themselves believe the wish will come true, calling that belief faith, using that “faith” as a switch to make God act in their favor. A wish cannot be made into Christian hope by wishing hard enough.
And there are Christians I know, including myself, who sometimes doubt the promises of God, transforming desires that should be Christian hope into wishes. Such a wish without faith may not erase the promise, but it may lead us to act more like the world than Christians who live with Christian hope.
And there are those who deny all promises of God because they do not know Him. Some of their wishes will come true, but like Omar Khayyam wrote:
“The worldly hope men set their hearts upon….
Like Snow upon the Desert’s dusty Face,
Lighting a little hour or two—is gone.”
God loves us and acts in our lives with that love. We are saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are forgiven. We are welcomed at the throne of God. God will never leave us nor forsake us. When we die, we will live again. While we live on this side of glory, we live with purpose.
These are promises we can stand on. They lead to Christian hope that will not be denied. We must never let ourselves dilute that hope into wishes.
Let me trust in your promises and act like it.