The human spirit needs hope to survive and thrive. It’s not surprising if God created human beings with this craving for hope it would make sense that He would also serve as our ultimate hope. In fact, in Romans 15:13 it describes God as the God of hope. All total there are 95 references to hope in the Old Testament. There are another 85 references in the New Testament. This theme of hope is woven all throughout scripture.

Proverbs 13:12, I Peter 1:3-4, Hebrews 16:9, Lamentations 3:21-22, I Timothy 6:17, Titus 3:4-7

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

At times though, we have substitutes that we mistake for true biblical hope. Some of those substitutes are wishful thinking, blind optimism, and ambitious dreams. Wishful thinking is when we try to hope things in or out of existence. We blow out the candles on our birthday cake and say, “I hope I have another year of health and happiness.” Another kind of hopeful attitude is blind optimism. It’s great to be an optimistic person, but some optimists see everything through rose colored glasses. Everything. They paper over their problems as if they didn’t exist. They avert their eyes from the ugliness of the world. To them everything is just fine all the time. Then there are ambitious dreams, another kind of hope. It’s wonderful to set ambitious goals and then to work toward achieving them. The problem is that often we are restricted by our own limitations or by things that are outside of our control. True biblical hope reminds us of two things: we have hope because we are absolved of our past and we are assured of our future.

Can you describe a time when you’ve had wishful thinking? How would you describe blind optimism? How can ambitious dreams be different from hope? Why is their hope in realizing we’ve been absolved of our past? Why is their hope in knowing that we are assured of our future? Who is someone you know who you would describe as a person of hope? Do you consider yourself a person of hope?

Biblical hope is found in what Jesus did for us, worldly hope is found in what we can try to do for ourselves. Make note of the difference and ask God to help you be filled with His hope.

Dear Father in Heaven, I thank you for Jesus dying on the cross for my sins. His sacrifice means I don’t have to pay the price for my sins. I thank you that Jesus rose from the dead. His resurrection means I am promised eternal life. Fill me with your hope. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.