Read Romans 8:24-25
24-25 We were saved by this hope,but in our moments of impatience let us remember that hope always means waiting for something that we haven’t yet got. But if we hope for something we cannot see,then we must settle down to wait for it in patience. (JBP)
The playwright Eugene O’Neill wrote about a group of alcoholic men who kept sad company with one another. What kept them going was the thought that maybe,just maybe,one day they would escape their bitter predicament and embrace full life again. Then another man visited them and told them that in fact they were hopeless cases: they were drunks and drunks they would remain. One by one,the men gave up on life.
They had lost hope. We can lose lots of things and still get on with life,but if we lose hope we are in great peril. And this doesn’t mean merely wishful thinking. Biblical hope is a sure confidence in the promises of God. As Paul reminds us,it is focussed on a possible future which is not yet ours. And yet because of the faithfulness of God it will surely one day be ours. So hope exists in this tension between the ‘now’ and the ‘not yet’.
For those living in uncomfortable life settings,this is reassuring. Hope means that we do not believe God has abandoned us. Hope means we believe there are better and brighter possibilities for us in the future. Not that we can define these or even demand them. Nor can we stipulate when they may come to be.
Rather we cling to God in faith in our present circumstances always trusting he is able to bring us into new situations,always believing that what we are now is not his final word. So hope enables us to live patiently in the present while also being open to the as yet unknown future.