"But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast" (Heb. 3:6). As Christ is faithful over the household of faith, so ought its members to exercise courage and hope in God’s gracious promises. Consequently, to bear witness to God’s righteous agenda.
Now hope implies a desirable expectation. The best is yet to come. Meanwhile, we are astonished at God’s amazing grace, that allows us to deal with adversity. In more graphic terms, get a good start, maintain a vigorous pace, and finish strong. As with faith, hope also implies trust.
In greater detail, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:3-4). This recalls a time when I was eating lunch at the university cafeteria, and a fellow student paused at my table. "I thought you might like to know that I have accepted the resurrection," he allowed. He had been brought up in a family which rejected the resurrection, attended a church which likewise rejected it, and was attending a graduate school of similar disbelief. Now engaged in a study of the early church, he had become convinced that no alternative to the resurrection could account for the vibrant faith and rapid growth of the faith community.
It remains to cite selective quotes to explore this theme from varied perspectives. "The ability to hope is the greatest gift that God could make to man" (Carlo Carretto, Summoned by Love, as reported by William Sykes, ed., The Eternal Vision, p. 178).
"Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords" (Samuel Johnson, Boswell’s Life of Johnson).
"Optimism means faith in men, in the human potentiality; hope means faith in God in His omnipotence" (Carlo Carretto, The Desert in the City).
"Hope is lived, and comes alive, when we go outside of ourselves and, in joy and pain take part in the lives of others. It becomes concrete in open community with others" (Jurgen Moltmann, The Open Church).
"Christian Hope is the consecration of desire, and desire is the hardest thing of all to consecrate. That will only happen as you begin to think how lovely the life according to Christ is" (William Temple, Christian Faith and Life; Sykes, op. cit., p. 179)
"He is a God who does not make empty promises for the hereafter nor trivialize the present darkness, futility and meaninglessness, but who himself in the midst of darkness, futility and meaninglessness invites us to the venture of hope" (Hans Kung, On Being a Christian).
"Hope to the last . . . Always hope; . . . Never leave off hoping; . . . Don’t leave a stone unturned. It’s always something to know you’ve done the most you could. But don’t leave off hoping, or it’s no use doing anything. Hope, hope, to the last!" (Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby).
"For if you find hope in the ground of history, you are united with the great prophets who were able to look into the depth of their times, who tried to escape it, because they could not stand the horror of their visions, and who yet had the strength to look to an even deeper level and there to discover hope" (Paul Tillich, The Shaking of the Foundations; Sykes, op. cit., pp. 179-189).
"Every blade of grass, each leaf, each separate floret and petal, is an inscription of hope. Consider the grasses and the oaks, the swallows, the sweet blue butterfly—they are one and all a sign and token showing before our eyes earth made into life—my hope becomes as broad as the horizon afar, reiterated by every leaf, sung on every bough, reflected in the gleam of every flower" (Richard Jefferies, The Pageant of Summer; Sykes, op. cit., p. 180). As if to suggest that life in its manifold expressions serves as an encouragement to exercise hope.
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