I think it’s high time that I explain the name of this blog, don’t you?
Why did I call it Hope Writer? Why not “Dream Writer” or “Joy Writer”? Why “Hope” specifically? Is it anything more than a cute sounding title? Did I choose it because it’s something that invokes fuzzy feelings and puts a smile on readers’ faces? Did I choose it because it’s trendy?
Last year, to my utter delight, I found a brand new copy of Webster’s 1828 Dictionary for $2 at a book sale. In this magnificent dictionary, Webster gives several definitions for the word “hope”.
Hope, 1. A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable.
I believe that 99% of the time that we hear the word “hope” on a daily basis, this definition would fit the bill. We mostly hear it/say it in relation to little things, things that aren’t too terribly important– i.e. “I really hope that the store is still open at this hour.” But lately, I’ve heard this definition of hope attached to much larger issues. For example, in the trailer for the new Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, President Snow says of Katniss, “She has become a beacon of hope for them.” In the communistic society in which The Hunger Games is set, there is precious little chance of the common man ever being free. But when the people see Katniss, they at least see some small glimmer on the dark horizon, some hope, however tiny, of their dream becoming a reality. They are desiring some good, but their expectation of obtaining it is almost microscopic.
If this definition of hope, this desiring of good accompanied by a slight expectation of obtaining it, is all that I meant by naming myself Hope Writer, then I wouldn’t be implying anything different from the rest of the world.
But I didn’t base Hope Writer on Webster’s 1st definition of hope. I based it on the 2nd kind.
Hope, 2. Confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well founded expectation of good; as a hope founded on God’s gracious promises
In this sense of the word, there is no longer any question of a slight expectation, or a faint glimmer on the horizon. This is confidence. The highest degree of expectation.
Day in and day out, we are constantly presented with the word “hope” in relation to “slight expectations.” In our society, to call hope “confidence” seems almost an oxymoron. For a person who has only ever heard of the #1 definition of hope, the #2 kind might seem difficult to even grasp. But it is on this second definition, this confidence, this highest of expectations, that I named my blog. I named it after the hope “founded on God’s gracious promises.”
The book of Titus in the Bible starts off with Paul greeting his friend with these words, “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the world began…” (Emphasis mine).
“Paul’s use of the word hope isn’t the way we use the term today to refer to things that are uncertain. He and the other biblical authors talk about hope that is certain, hope that cannot fail, and hope that will never disappoint or embarrass you (Rom. 5:5). The New Testament calls hope the anchor of the soul (Heb. 6:13–20). Why? What is it that makes it certain? The answer is God’s sure promises and the demonstration of His faithfulness in the history of Israel, in the lives of the Apostles, and, most clearly, in the person and work of Jesus Christ.” – R.C. Sproul
This is the hope that I have. The hope that I write about. Hope of eternal life. Based on the promises of God. I have this hope because I trust that Jesus Christ is who He says He is. I trust Him when He says that His perfect, sinless life counted for mine and His righteousness covers me like a shining white robe. I trust that when He died on the cross, and God the Father piled my sins and the sins of everyone who ever lived on Jesus’s shoulders, my sins were atoned for and I was completely forgiven. I trust that His resurrection from the dead broke the power of death, and that death is no longer a thing to be feared. I trust that when He returned to heaven, and left us with the hope of His return, that He wasn’t lying or teasing. The hope that He left us is sure, true, confident, an anchor in hard times – a living hope.
This hope is why I am filled with joy each day. People often remark on how much I smile, and how cheerful I am. I try to explain that it’s not me. It’s not that I’m such an awesome person that I wake up each day brimming with goodness and happiness. Ha. (That was a sarcastic laugh, in case you were wondering…) I wake up tired and cranky like every other person on earth. But before I’ve been awake for even five minutes, I open up my Bible and start to pray. I ask God to fill me with His goodness, His joy, His peace, His patience, His kindness. The amazing part is that He does! I can’t explain how He does it, but He does. He puts his Holy Spirit into my heart, and fills me with His goodness. He helps me to forgive – and even love – people that I hated before. He helps me to have peace where I was sick with worry. He gives me a new mind and a new heart to replace my old sin-rotten ones. And if He can do all of that here on earth, then why should I doubt that He will also fulfill his promise about heaven?
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” 1 Peter 1:3
The hope that I have – the hope that I write about – is a living hope. It is not a faint glimmer on a dark horizon, or a slight expectation. If you’ve ever read the Hunger Games trilogy, you know that the hope that Katniss gave the people did come true beyond every expectation. The people were free from the oppression of communism. But what did it ultimately gain them in the end? That hope was fulfilled, but it left everyone just as empty as before. Their hope was a temporary hope, a hope that flared up and died out, plunging everyone back into darkness. Without the living hope of God, there is no true hope in the world whatsoever.
“…remember that you were at that time separated from Christ…having no hope and without God in the world.” Ephesians 2:12
Tomorrow, Billy Graham will be 95 years old. In honor of his birthday, and in his desire to hold the biggest crusade the country has ever known, he has put together a 28-minute video called “The Cross.” This will be broadcast all over America tomorrow evening on Fox News, TBN, and many local news stations. The video is also available for free to download on the Samaritan’s Purse website. I usually am too busy to take time to watch the little videos and links that people share online, but I have watched “The Cross” and cannot recommend it highly enough. This video crusade is called My Hope America. Billy Graham has done so much to spread the hope of Christ throughout the world, and this is his last and biggest gift to the country. If you’re searching for hope, I encourage you to download and watch “The Cross” and listen to the stories of people who found hope and life and joy through Christ.
If you are without God in the world, and have no hope, I want you to know that you can have the living hope that I have. You can have the confidence, joy and satisfaction that comes from knowing that what you hope in is real. When Christ hung on the cross to atone for the sins of the world, your sins were included in that atonement. Whether you believe it or not, your sins were paid for. The point is: do you believe it? God will not force Himself on anyone. He will not force even his atonement on you; He has left that choice up to you. You can struggle under the weight of your sins, or ask Him to take them from you and free you completely. He is begging, pleading, you to accept the work that He did on the cross, and believe that your sins are forgiven.
If you do, you will be filled with hope like you can’t even imagine.