“Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”
For the first time since the Great Depression, hopelessness describes the emotional state of many Americans. Before the election, many social conservatives expressed hopelessness about the future. After the election, social progressives lost their hope for the future.
No matter what our political bent, hopelessness is a warning sign that we’ve allowed our sense of security to be dictated by opinions and outcomes that are fragile and fickle, such as who’s in the White House and who controls Congress. Not that these issues are inconsequential. But the political weather in Washington is unpredictable—and a dangerous place to anchor our hope.
Wherever our hope is anchored, we need not wonder if gale force winds will pound against us, but when they will pound against us. Just as surely as a Denver meteorologist can predict snow in January, we can predict that at some point, piercing, powerful winds will batter our lives, disrupt our plans, dash our dreams, and threaten our hope if it is not attached to something solid.
The Bible reminds us to be careful where we put our hope during our time on earth.
The Bible assures us that the world will be transformed one day, but it also reminds us to be careful where we put our hope until then.
Do not trust in princes,
In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.
His spirit departs, he returns to the earth;
In that very day his thoughts perish.
How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the LORD his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea and all that is in them;
Who keeps faith forever;
Who executes justice for the oppressed;
Who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets the prisoners free. (Psalm 146:3-7)
Hope comes from faith in a loving God who is always at work on our behalf. Anchored in this truth, we’re able to look beyond precarious circumstances and finite perceptions, and see reality through God’s eyes. It’s a reality defined by the immeasurable possibilities of His wisdom and power, His fierce love for His creation, and His commitment to make the world right again.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1).
Elections matter, but hope looks elsewhere for security. Hope allows us to gaze into the future and visualize the world as God meant it to be—the world we long for, the world we were created to live in—where there will be “no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Hope gives us the faith, courage, and strength to continue our work today, helping to redeem the part of this fallen world within our domain of influence—whether in the home, the workplace, or the public square.
One glorious day, our faith will become sight. Until that day, no matter who’s in Oval Office and who controls Congress, we can fix our hope in the only safe place: in Him who sits on the throne of heaven—the sovereign Ruler of the universe who promises to make all things new, and empowers us today to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.
But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)