Friday, August 31, 2012

A Biblical Look at "Hope" part 4

The Adversary has made a concerted attack on the subject of the Hope because of the value that it has to anchor people to godliness and truth. One of the reasons the Hope is an anchor for the Christian life is that hope energizes people and gives them strength to endure in a way that nothing else does. People without hope become defeated, broken, and unable to cope with adversity. Hopeless people give up. If Christians are going to stay energized and motivated to do the work of the Lord day in and day out, putting up with all the trouble that the Devil and people put them through, it is vital to have a hope that is real, alive, and vivid.

The strengthening and energizing value of hope shows up in many ways in everyday life. When a mother tells her hungry family that dinner will be ready in ten minutes, she gets a totally different response than if she says she does not know when it will be ready. The hope of eating soon gives the family the energy to hold on a little longer. Having hope is vital in the medical field. Modern medicine acknowledges the healing value of hope because hopeful people have more strength and endurance. A mother will tell a sick child that the medicine will make him feel better "soon" because that helps the child stay positive and endure the pain.

Having a hope in the form of a visible goal is also important in athletic performance. Every coach knows the value of yelling "Last lap!" to the runner or swimmer whose muscles are already screaming from fatigue. Hearing "One more lap!" causes the athlete to reach deep and find the energy to push through to the end. Runners, skiers, skaters, rowers, and other athletes know that muscles that seem to be just holding on somehow come to life and have extra strength when the finish line comes into sight. The Hope that the race will soon be over infuses the body with energy that seems to come from nowhere. There is no question that having hope anchors a person to his goal and gives him energy and strength to go on.

Just as hope energizes and strengthens, it is also true that being without hope drains one’s strength. The feeling of being "hopeless" is devastating. A person with no hope, with no expectation of good, often sinks into depression and despair and may even commit suicide. The effects of being hopeless are well documented. People who have no hope of everlasting life grieve over death in ways that Christians who are confident of everlasting life do not. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians and told them that the dead Christians would be raised to life when Christ comes "
down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet call of God" (1 Thess. 4:16). Paul knew that when they really had hope in the raising of the dead, they would not "grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope" (1 Thess. 4:13)  condensed


  1. Hi! I am listening to a talk you gave several years ago and you mentioned a Hebrew model for understanding scripture. Do you have a visual or can you explain it to me? Thanks! Andrea

  2. Hi Andrea,

    That is a big topic. One way to think about it is to explore the difference between Greek and Hebrew cultures and the way they organize information. The Greeks are obsessed with the systematic organization of knowledge (left brain and the way our culture works) and the Hebrew model is only interested in function and meaning. It is interested in Truth--not just facts. Form vs Function is another way to say it.

    If you like reading, you would enjoy "Our Father Abraham" and any of Lois Tverberg's books. They are a great place to start learning more about this topic.

    Good luck!