Hope is a word used in conversation many times throughout the day: “I hope to get married one day. I hope to get finished with college in June. I hope to be healed of this disease. I hope, I hope I hope . . . .” What is expected when one hopes?
Is hope a definite or is it a maybe? Let’s talk about it!
Wikipedia says hope is “the state which promotes the desire of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or in the world at large.” Analyzing this definition, I walk away feeling that hope is a maybe–a wanting, but not sure it will happen–an implication of a trust based on circumstances that can work, or not work. It’s a “I’m going to take the necessary steps for a desired outcome, but because of other extenuating circumstances . . . what I desire may not happen.”
Another meaning of hope–an archaic meaning according to The Free Dictionary, is “confidence; trust.” I like this one better. Why? Because it seems to be more definite–a desire based on concrete evidence that the expected outcome will reach fruition. How should that evidence be viewed? Physically and/or metaphysically? Spiritually or materially?
The answer may lie somewhere in the understanding of the statement in the picture above: “Don’t lose hope, when it gets dark, the stars come out.” What is the writer suggesting? He’s saying that darkness does not always lead to finality or endlessness, but is a time that generates one’s fighting spirit or determination–inner strength, courage–many times causing the individual to gain knowledge that overcomes the initial stage of mental or physical discord, and reach a state of consciousness that leads to total recovery or dominion over what presented the discord. Without the experience, he would have remained “in the dark.” It’s saying, “When I have reached the end, I start looking for another beginning” or “It’s not over until I say it is over.”
Hope Developed into Action
Hope begins with thought. It is a sense of expectation, anticipation, watchfulness, when nurtured, leads to action. It causes the hopeful person to map out a plan–either mentally or physically. He knows stationary cannot be part of that plan . . . there must be movement–positive movement–forward movement. Giving-up keeps one in the same spot, therefore it cannot be part of the plan. What is the plan? It is rooted in “seeking–” seeking something beyond where one is. Example: If you are alone, lost on a dark and deserted road, do you keep thinking, “I am lost, I will never get out of here” or do you think, “There is a way out of here. There is something that can be done. I just have to figure it out.”
Such an experience happened to me and my thoughts led me to seek higher levels of thought. I said, “God, I don’t know where I am, but I know You do, so You’re just going to have to guide me out of here.” I sat there . . . thinking those words over-and over–mentally allowing them to sink in, and grasping and understanding what they meant. You see, I believed them to be true. Soon, my thoughts began to lead me out of there. I heard . . . “Go this way . . . now that way . . . turn here . . . no, that’s not the way to go . . . yea, that’s the turn you need to make” As I followed each directive step-by-step, I was placed on a familiar expressway that took me home safely. What if I had kept my thoughts embedded in “I’m lost!” Do you think I would have been effectively led out of there? This realm of thought is based in divine law–a law stated by Jesus in Matthew 7:7: “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find.” I was familiar with that law, and more importantly, I had faith in that law.
How is Hope Acquired?
I believe hope in inherent–a godlike quality that each individual has as part of his spiritual make-up. Having said that, I believe that even though it is within us humanly, it must be developed–brought to the surface of thought, accepted, believed and practiced. That one statement I made to God the night I was lost, was based on many years of trusting Him to bring me out of many human situations. It was not happenstance–words without meaning, but a strong belief that “all things are possible to God.” How does one acquire this? The picture on the right that describes itself as “Principles of the Program” hints at what I refer to as “spiritual development.”
Why do I use the word “hint?” because each one of those words must reach beyond human definitions. For example, “honesty” held at a human level can vary . . . what one person perceives as honesty may be deceptive to another. However, honesty based on divine revelation will never sink beyond total honesty. One may ask, “What is honest according to divine law?” That which is based on the love of God–love of the man God created; faith in all that is good–never that which is evil; hope only in peace, not war or destruction; humility such as bowing before God, not man; justice according to divine law, not just the laws that man has made; courage based on faith that a higher power is at the helm; you get the idea . . . .
Where does divine law originate? From that which is outside of human logic–such as the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, divine wisdom. Everything in the Bible is not based on divine law. Many verses stem from human logic and action.
As one grows spiritually, he is able to identify one from the other. Before I understood that God speaks to the human consciousness through the presence of the Christ, I thought everything in the Bible was based on divine law. Years later, I learned that verses expressing divine law, are based on inspiration and need inspiration to be understood. One must be able to speak in the “new tongue” to grasp the meaning of Scripture. That new tongue is not jibberish, but clarity of thought, spiritual awareness and divine inspiration and revelation.
Hope, given to us by God, is based of faith, understanding, revelation and a deep trust in all that is good, perfect and eternal. It parallels the faith of the Psalmist who wrote “hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God”(42: 11). The Psalmist is rejoicing that hope comes from God–the health (state of mind) of his countenance (appearance or being). He’s saying “The hope that I have is a state of mind that comes from God, and appears in me, from God.” Such hope is grounded in devotion, contemplation, dominion and honor to God! Therefore, it can never be a maybe . . . but a surety. It’s power comes not from man’s ability to do, but from understanding what God has already done!
Let us be cautious however, not to mistake outlining for hope. Outlining means one decides what action or result hope brings. True hope leaves the results to God. The person who hopes and outlines may make a statement like this: “I hope to have a house built on this property by next year, and God is going to show me how.” The person who hopes and leaves all to God may say, “My hope is in God, and I know He will unfold in my thought whether a house should be built here or not.” He recognizes that only good comes from God. Thus, if he is led not to build a house there, he will accept it and wait for the next step–recognizing that another place could be better or he may acquire a house he likes without having to build one. He places no limitations on God, but is ready to be guided by Him–knowing that nothing could be better.
Letting go of human will and placing everything in the hands of God, is not easy. Mankind believes not in God, but in himself. He thinks he knows what is best, and expects God to “go along with the plan.” When it does not happen, he says, “God does not keep His promises” and his faith in God begins to wane. When actually, God never promised him anything of the kind. It was based on human desire, greed or a false perception of who God really is.
Hope is a gift from God, and understanding and using it in the human experience . . . must be based on godliness. Hope starts and ends with God, not start humanly, and ask God to “get on board.”
This entire article expresses the words of Paul: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11: 1). Faith is not only whatever you are hoping for . . . it is also the evidence that you already have it.