Every New Year, I have a word and a text which I carry into the year with me, I rarely know the significance of that word at the start of the year, but as the year and the word unravel I find that they greet and meet one another as faith and circumstances converge.
The word this year has been with me throughout this past Advent Season, it is the word: Hope. With every carol we have sung there has been a longing; an anticipation, even an expectation and you can’t have those things without hope.
The dictionary meaning of hope = A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.
So what do we hope for from life, from 2023? Peace; happiness, health; prosperity; good times? And yet do we have assurance that these things will be given? No, we have no such assurance, our hope is unsubstantiated, why? Because no-one has promised us these things, no-one has given us any assurance that these things will be ours.
So what is hope then, what can we be assured off, what have we been promised and by whom?
For that my dear friend, we have to turn to God, because He alone is the promise-maker, the promise-keeper and the one alone who is able to fulfill and carry out these promises in a way that we can place our confident hope in Him.
John Piper defines Biblical hope as: “not just a desire for something good in the future, but rather, a confident expectation for something good in the future. it expects it to happen. And it not only expects it to happen — it is confident that it will happen.”
So what are some of the things we hope for and have assurance of ?
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,Ephesians 1:18
Hope is faith in the future tense.
Hope is looking forward to that day of Christ’s return when all the wrongs will be made right, where justice will win, when wars will cease, where sin and sickness are no more and where there are no more sorrows or partings or death. Hope holds on to that glorious day!
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. and hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.Romans 5:3-5
So even though life may be tough, even though we have trials and tribulations, the hope that tribulation builds in us is not a hope that will be disappointed.
We have assurance because God has proved His intention to complete His work in us and that proof was in sending His own Son to die on our behalf so that we may have reconciliation with God, so that we might be called His children
God is faithful to all His promises, so we can have hope.
In this ‘in-between’ time of Jesus coming as a man to die for our sins and Him coming again to bring justice and to reign forevermore, we have hope. We have confident expectation that what He has said will come to pass.
Whatever promises of His we are holding onto today or for the coming year, we can have hope, we can have confident expectation that He will fulfill His promises.
So as we enter 2023, we can have confident expectation that God will fulfill all His promises He has made to us.
So we long, we wait, we have assurance, we trust, we persevere and we HOPE.
Hope in God anchors us.
Hope in God does not disappoint us.
Hope in God brings peace.
So as we go forward into the New Year may we place our hope on the Promise Keeper and look to Him with confident expectation that He will fulfill His promises to us because He is able to do it..