“Have hope,” they said. “It’s all you can do,” they said.
True, true… well, actually no it’s not true, but that’s beside the point.
Hope is very similar to faith, only hope objectifies promises and experiences which are of God independent of us; faith, as you may recall, calls what is not as though it is into existence within us and around us (Hebrews 11).Hope is how I survive and when I come upon it as is laid out by the Bible, it does not– cannot –disappoint. It is the culmination of tribulation leading to perseverance, leading to proven character, resting finally, free from disappointment (Romans 5:3-4). This is why, when, last month, I hoped I had found my future wife, I was disappointed, and the year before that, the same, and before that, the same, and as far back as I can track some ten years to when I was twelve– the same.
I left those relationships much more than disappointed, but for the sake of clarity, I’ll leave it at “disappointed.” I had hoped for so much, knowing that God wants good things for me, but not knowing that I was pursuing those good things with a separate life in mind than the one I was pursuing God with. In other words, I was pursuing God’s perks, without pursuing God. In Romans 5:1 Paul writes that we exult in the hope of the glory of God, and this road to hope which we are blessed with through tribulation is how we come to this exultation. In my life, I could not truly experience God’s glory without my willingness to cling to hope in God through my tribulations, and once I had just one glimpse of his glory, my whole world and life was changed, I now seek it at every turn, and I long day and night to experience his glory without end.
So, what is God’s glory? One definition given by Strong is splendor or brightness — both things you must “see.” You can’t see the light of a bulb if you’re not in its presence, can you? In the same way, I have become desperate for God’s glory. I have spent too much time, with little success thinking of how much I need God. This need for Him is apparent to me, and while I make no attempt to belittle my need for Him, I, above this need for Him, have come to want Him. I need Him, undoubtedly, but more so, I need to want him.
I choose to hope in Him, in his glory, in his promises. Throughout everything that comes against me (even as seemingly insignificant as when my roommate eats all my planned meal for a day without inquiry), I hope in his promises as specifically as I possibly can. In the case of my roommates appetite, I remember his promise, first about the bread of life and its permanent fulfillment, but then about the sparrow whom He clothes and feeds. Above all, and all the time, I hope in knowing, being deeply acquainted and intimate with God– I do not want to know of God, for I have known of God my entire life– I want to experience his physical presence, always.