All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us. (NLT)
Most of us would reckon that hope is a good thing. It sure beats hopelessness. But “hope” can be a wrong sort of hope because we might be hoping for the wrong thing in the wrong way. We might confuse “hope” with wishing our heart’s desire would come about. All very natural, but it may be that our heart’s desire needs to be reconfigured so we hope for the right thing.
Rather than just pray that our heart’s desires be met, we may first pray that those desires be ordered or reordered. Otherwise our hope gets confused with wishful thinking and become self-centred rather than God-centred.
In this world, not all our dreams come true. Our text refers to numerous Old Testament believers who hoped for the Messiah but never encountered him. Their genuine heartfelt desires were not granted and yet their deeper hopes were fulfilled in time.
There is an old prayer in some church liturgies which asks God to enable us “to love what you command and desire what you promise.” We can too easily ask God to command what we already love and promise what we already desire. We need new hearts to give birth to a new hope.