Safe Place with Ruth Graham

In my darkest moments, when I didn’t know what to do or where to go, I held on to hope. Why? I hoped that tomorrow, the next hour, the next minute things would get better. What gave me hope? Are we born with a measure of optimism? Is that hope, or wishful thinking?

What does hope mean? Hope is defined in my dictionary as, “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out well.” To me that smacks of wishful thinking. It’s not based in anything solid or concrete. And for me, hope that makes a difference has to be of substance. I can hope to win the lottery one day – so does everyone else. But that hope is ridiculous since I don’t buy the tickets! My hope is not based in anything realistic. I hoped to one day finish my college degree. I couldn’t wish it into reality. It wasn’t going to happen by magic! At the age of forty I decided if my hope was to be realized, I had to get to work. I did. It took ten years but I eventually got my degree at fifty!

Hope has to have some sort of foundation, some substance, to make it sustainable. I hope to drive across the country to the West Coast. That’s realistic but not probable. I could do that but my hope isn’t strong enough to motivate me to make it happen. However, a cruise in the Scandinavian fjords would motivate me to save my money and plan the trip with a friend and eventually do it – one day.

The Bible describes God as a God of hope in Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Notice he talks about abounding in hope! Hope runs all through the Bible. There are eleven Hebrew words for hope and four Greek words. But it seems to boil down to the notion of having a favorable and confident expectation but it depends on the object on which hope is placed. Clearly for a Christian, our hope is in Jesus Christ. It is not a vain hope but it is described as a living hope, a good hope, a blessed hope, a better hope. And this hope is our secure inheritance from Jesus, reserved for us in heaven.

The Apostle Peter writes of it in his first letter, “…God…has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (I Peter 1:3 NASB) The resurrection of Jesus is the proof that our hope is not wishful thinking. It is grounded in His resurrection. The Apostle Paul writes at length about it in I Corinthians chapter 15: “Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain….For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.”

The resurrection of Jesus is our proof that our hope is not empty.

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