We hear it all the time. Don’t give up hope! I have hope. They have hope. We have hope. Everyone seems to have hope. Hopefully, you’re not too far gone that you don’t have hope. I believe that hope is part of being a human being. Whether or not you acknowledge the hope inside you, it’s there. It’s how you were built. How you were raised. You wouldn’t be here, today, if you didn’t have hope. This paragraph is just overflowing with “hope.”

I asked myself, the other day, “What is hope? Why do I allow myself to get so shaken up when something I’ve hoped for doesn’t come to pass?” It’s very discouraging when hope, like sand, in my hands, falls through my fingers and disappears. I looked it up, hope. I like the first definition, “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.” It comes across as very hopeful but not particularly useful on its own. Hope is an action, so let’s look at this, “to believe, desire, or trust.”  Now, we’re getting somewhere.

Hope is trusting that what we believe or want to happen will happen. I think that is a fair definition of hope to answer the question I posed to myself, “What is hope?” However, what about that crushing disappointment? The discouragement that can be so overwhelming? I’m glad you asked. There are other issues. There’s the issue of trust and belief. Those should be capitalized. Trust and Belief. I mean, really, if Hope is defendant on such words, and I’m wanting to know why I respond to lost hope with such discouragement, then I’m going to capitalize those words. They hold weight.

I’m going to look at Belief first.  Although, you’d might expect me to address Trust first, since that’s the way I wrote it. However, I am full of surprises. Boo. I like the third definition here: belief: “confidence; faith; trust.” Wow, those are some big ideas. Interesting that the definition we decided on for hope, yes I dropped the capital, “H”, includes, “Trust.” Well, I don’t know about you, but I need to take a look at trust and what it means. Trust: “confident expectation of something; hope.” Anyone else feel like we’re going in circles here? One huge tautology. Let’s recap sports fans. Hope is trust and belief. Belief is trust and faith. Trust is hope. I’m not even going to look up “confidence”, which you thought I was going to leave out, because I know it’s going to point to trust and belief.

Where are we now? Faith. Faith should be easy. Everyone has faith. I have to look it up. Just like in that horror movie; I have to go find out what made that sound by myself. How about that? “Confidence or trust in a person or thing.” Well, that says something that I can use. I’m not a math guy, but there’s something called the “transitive property” that might apply here. Let’s jump and not check to see if I’m wearing my chute. Faith is hope, belief and trust in a person or thing. That makes sense. I told you that we all have faith. You go to bed, each night, with the faith that you’ll wake up the next day. You get on that plane, whether you like to fly or not, with faith, that everyone has done their jobs and the plane is not going to crash. If you have a job, then you have faith that you’re going to get paid for the work that you do. We are just jam packed and full of faith. Aren’t we special?

I have this foundation of hope based on trust, belief and faith in a person or thing. There’s just one problem though, don’t I wish? I’m a Christian, and my faith is in God. He never fails. He cannot fail. He cannot lie. He is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow. Therefore, if I place my hope in God then why am I so discouraged when hope fails? Ah, let’s take a step back. My faith is in God. Isn’t my hope? Of course it is, isn’t it?

Let’s take a closer look at faith. It’s a “trust in a person or thing” according to that dictionary. God is a being, a person, that I place my faith, hope and trust in. Something is missing. What does the Bible say about faith? The book of Hebrews has this to say about faith. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1 NIV). Not much of a difference, really, between the Bible and that dictionary. Perhaps the issue isn’t faith then? Is it trust? No, my trust is in God. Isn’t it?

Well, what if my trust, according to that dictionary, is in receiving the thing in which I hope? Aha! Isn’t that faith? Aren’t I excising my faith, my hope and my trust in God when I pray and believe that what I have prayed for, according to the will of God, will come to pass? “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:14 NIV) the Bible tells me. I believe it. That’s just one passage that tells me that what I ask for in prayer will be done. Here are others: Prayer.

It’s that “thing” though, isn’t it? Somehow, I have transferred my trust, faith and hope in God, to the “thing” to which I am praying. That’s not good. That sounds like idol worship.

No, it sounds like I’m human. I make mistakes, but I can learn. There’s hope. I can learn. My question now becomes, “How can I have faith, pray and believe that what I’ve prayed for will happen? If it doesn’t happen, how can I still be encouraged?” Those are big questions. I don’t know if they are the right questions, but they are big. Questions that are relying upon, hope. It looks like we’re back to where we started.

Thank God for His love. Hmmm. Perhaps, there’s something in that?