The Dichotomy of Hope


Today, hope is about wishful thinking…

Rob Long

Where did all the cynics come from and where did the hope go?

Christmas. What did you hope for as a child? When I was young (child and teen), August brought warm winds, harvesting corn in the garden and the Sears Christmas Catalog. Younger generations may believe Walmart execs were the progenitors of an early Christmas season, but it happened long before Walmart owned the retail world.

The Sears Christmas Catalog was a thing of beauty. You could feast your eyes on the newest toy ideas, sparkling bats and gloves, dolls that acted like real children…it was a glory to behold. Probably every child for a hundred years looked forward to its being delivered by the warm-hearted men and women of the USPS (though all those catalogs probably upped the share price at Ben-Gay).

The four boys in my family couldn’t wait to circle dreams and hope to receive a few come Christmas morning. My parents shared in our joy, but they quickly set boundaries on our wishing. They would have liked to spoil us, but two realities held them back. They only had a finite amount of money to spend on Christmas frivolities that would waste in the toy box come January and they wanted to raise godly young men. We were always reminded what Christmas was and tempered our expectations because we knew that the “reason for the season” was not getting.

But we had hope. That hope was not based on knowing what we were actually going to receive as gifts, but on the fact that my parents wanted to give to us as much as we wanted to receive. They always came through and shared in the joy of the Christmas morning unveiling. It was a very happy time for our family. Not because we got something necessarily, but because our parents loved us enough to give to us. What blessed memories.

A good story, but is that the hope (wishful thinking) that God has for us? Does He veil His gifts to us and let us dream of what we could possibly get?


God-given hope has an entirely different definition.

By Whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:3).

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

For whatsoever were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith” (Galatians 5:5).

Hope in the Bible is an assurance. We don’t wonder what may come, hope in God means that we know what is to come. Why? Because we know His nature. We know if He promised it, there is no need to wish. It will happen.

Which hope would you rather have? The wishful hope or one backed by the assurance that is God.

I know which I prefer.


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