What do you hope will happen today?
Maybe your hope is something simple. You hope that today’s forecast is warm and sunny. You hope that your packed lunch contains a personal favorite. You hope that the train isn’t as busy so you can catch up on some reading.
Maybe your hope is more significant, potentially even life-changing. You hope that you will get that raise or promotion at work. You hope that the medical tests will come back clean. You hope that God will activate a heart of faith in a lost and wandering loved one.
All human beings hope for something. God has hardwired us this way from the beginning of creation. Unlike animals, who live by pure instinct and moment-by-moment reaction, we project our lives out into the future to imagine things as we would like them to be.
There are three elements to our hope - assessments, objects, and expectations.
First, we look around and ASSESS that something or someone could be better than it is. If things were as perfect as they could be, we wouldn’t need to hope.
Second, we must have an OBJECT on which we bank on hope on. Hope is never abstract. We’re always asking something or someone concrete to fix what is broken or to deliver what is desired.
Finally, our hopes have EXPECTATIONS of what could be if the object of our hope pulls through. Sometimes our expectations are realized, and other times, our expectations leave more to be desired.
According to the Bible, there are ultimately only two places to look for hope.
We can either search for hope HORIZONTALLY in the situations, experiences, physical possessions, locations, and relationships of everyday life.
Or, we can search for hope VERTICALLY in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the promises and truths that he provides in his Word.
When we look for hope horizontally, we’re relying on items or people who suffer from the same degree of brokenness as we do. At best, they can provide fleeting pleasure, but they always result in disappointment, or at worst, addiction.
On the contrary, vertical hope is summarized by the Apostle Paul in Romans 5:5 – “hope in God will never put us to shame.” It will never embarrass us by failing to deliver!
You and I already know this, but it’s worth repeating every day: lasting, satisfying hope is only ever found vertically.
Only in God is your hope sure and secure. Only he can provide you the life that your heart seeks. Only he can supply your soul with the rest that it needs. Only he can deliver the internal peace that is the hunger of every human being.
In his brief words, the Apostle Paul confronts us with this thought: if your hope disappoints you, it’s because the object of your hope is horizontal!
- here have you assessed that life is not all that it should be? How much of your assessment was made out of holy discontent? How much out of selfish desires?
- What temporary earthly objects do you tend to place your hope in? How have these failed you in the past? Be specific.
- How does vertical hope in the person and work of Christ give you strength and peace for what you're experiencing right here, right now in this broken world?