Hope is more than a wish. It’s a confident expectation that the future is bright and that good things await. A wish, however, is a shot-in-the-dark… like heading into a test that you didn’t study for, and just wishing to do well. Hope is built on a foundation; wishes float “out there” without any real substance.
The Christian life is built on a foundation of hope, not upon a wish.
The Foundation of Christian Hope
One of my favorite people in the Bible is the Apostle Thomas. After Jesus’ death, all the disciples were in the Upper Room when Jesus suddenly appeared (even though the doors were all locked, because they were afraid of being arrested). The disciples saw Jesus, talked with him, and were astounded that he was alive again. They had heard the rumors, but now they saw him with their own eyes. But Thomas wasn’t there. In days that followed, Thomas would insist that he wouldn’t believe unless he could put his fingers in the holes in Jesus’ hands. That week must have been excruciating for Thomas… feeling hopeless while everyone else is full of hope.
But the next week when all the disciples were together, and Jesus appeared again. He did not approach Thomas and rebuke him for his unbelief. No. Instead, he said, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”
This gets at the very foundation of Christian hope: the reality of the physical and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus literally defeated sin and death. He took them on, and won… and his victory becomes ours by faith.
The resurrection should be enough for us to believe what Jesus says… and Jesus says this,
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going. …I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:1-6)
Hope for the Hopeless
The gospel is a message of hope for the hopeless. Remember, hope is not a wish. Hope is future-facing, but it is confident and built upon a solid foundation. For the Christian, that foundation is the resurrection of Jesus Christ where sin and death were conquered and our victory was secured.
We all have days filled with despair. When it seems like everything around us is crushing in and our eyes can’t see the light. But for the Christian, in the midst of that deep pit, the resurrection proves to be an objective, historical, rock-solid reason for hope.
I cannot begin to estimate the amount of times I have personally been dragged out of doubt and despair by simply considering the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus truly rose from the grave, then I have every reason for hope.