Although we’re still in the middle of the effects of a partial lockdown of our society, we should not forget that there is always hope.
Over the last year, hope is something which seems noticeable absence from the mouths of our scientists and politicians. They can be forgiven for that, because it is not their first calling to give hope, but to govern and steer.
For the Church it is however another matter. The Church should be characterised by hope, because it is on hope the whole Church and its mission are based.
Hope in the Bible contains a somewhat different interpretation between Biblical times and our contemporary society. In our mind, hope contains a level of uncertainty as someone might hope for something to happen, but can’t be sure about the truth of it. In the Bible, however, hope is closely connected to trust. Trust in the God Whose words are true, forms the basis for a hope that is certain and trustworthy.
Truth as in the Bible refers to a Hebrew word for reliability and what is constant. The truth is something that can be trusted and because it can be trusted, we can build our hope on it.
In the pilot’s mess of Transavia many years ago a sign hung: ‘In God we trust, others pay cash’. Some might take this as offensive, but it’s true that where people or circumstances might jeopardize our trust, trusting God is relying on the certainty that He will keep His word and promises. Hope in God and trusting Him are closely linked together. God will not leave or disappoint us when we build our hope and trust on Him.
Over the past year, many were disappointed about the progress made to return to normality in our society and kept on hoping things would change for the better soon.
This type of hope is a kind of optimism, but it is different from the hope as mentioned in the Bible. The hope mentioned in the Bible is not based on optimism, or on believing that a glass is half full instead on half empty. It is based on trusting in the truth of God’s words and promises.
The hope the Church should proclaim is a hope that will not fade or disappoint, because it is based on trust in God. It is for this reason that the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans in chapter 5: We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us.
May this be our support and encouragement for the year to come, and the guide of how we face the future.