Day 309 – Hope
One of them, named Cleopas, asked Jesus, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” Luke 24:18-24
“We had hoped …” Past tense. The reason these guys were down in the mouth, is because their hope was reliant on the evidence of their eyes, rather than the promises of God. They’d come to believe great things about this man, Jesus, based on historic prophesy. Yet, as soon as things went in an unexpected direction, their hope evaporated and their belief collapsed – or the other way round, maybe.
“Hope springs eternal in the human breast”, wrote Alexander Pope in An Essay on Man. It is a gift of God, not far behind grace, and a universal blessing, in that all humans are hard wired with hope. Yet, it is so easy to lose hope when the going gets tough.
According to the apostle Paul – where would we without him?! – when all is said and done, three things of lasting importance remain: faith, hope and love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
Hope is the connection between the faith that guides us, and the love that flows from us. We can protect our hope from the ups and downs of our feelings, by feeding our faith (through reading the bible, prayer and fellowship) and exercising love (through every deed and conversation we have).
Hope is not wishful thinking; it is the quietly taken decision that “in God we trust”.
As an aid to kick starting this process, twelve bible verses, featuring hope, are set out on the following pages. Enjoy, reflect and be strengthened.
Father God, open my eyes of faith to see what my sight cannot perceive, that my hope may be strengthened. Amen