It started out as a board game.
What is the funniest TV show of all time?
Where is the most beautiful place on earth?
Who would you want to meet on a subway?
What is the most fascinating thing about being human?
My roommates and I spent last weekend in Tennessee with Bethany’s family, and one night the three of us ended up playing a game called Say Anything. Eventually, we put the scorecards away and used the questions as late-night conversation prompts. (As though our conversations need prompting.)
What is the best human emotion?
That one gave us pause. And we all answered it in essentially the same way: looking forward to something, anticipation, excitement. The eager anticipation of a future that is not yet tainted by the present’s imperfection.
Our world has hijacked and hollowed out hope, leaving an empty wishing-well that eats our pennies and steals our peace.
We throw in our pennies and “hope” our wishes will come true. We hope we’ll get that job. We hope we’ll get married. We hope our kids will know the Lord. We hope the car starts. We hope there’s ice cream in the freezer. We hope the election goes our way. We hope we have a good Tuesday.
We hope for a myriad of things of which we have no real assurance. And there is the nagging threat of disappointment that holds us back from hoping too hard.
But that best human emotion? The one all three of us agreed on? It is the kid-before-Christmas kind of hope. Hope unrestrained. Hope unafraid.
Cynicism tempts us to call it naïve. But what if there’s a grown up version hope that abandons fear?
What if there really is hope with assurance? Hope of the very substantive kind? Hope that holds hearts steady in a world where the waiting lasts longer than wishing can sustain?
There is a hope that is fearless and bold. There is a hope that is childlike in its abandon but mature in its confidence. The Scriptures don’t speak of wavering wishes. They speak of stable hope.
“…and hope does not disappoint…” (Romans 5:5, NASB)
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing…” (Romans 15:13)
“Our hope for you is unshaken…” (2 Corinthians 1:7)
“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold…” (2 Corinthians 3:12)
“…and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ…” (1 Thessalonians 1:3)
“…that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope…” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
“…to have the full assurance of hope until the end…” (Hebrews 6:11)
“…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…” (1 Peter 3:15)
I’m going to be honest. I don’t get asked all that often about the reason for the hope that is in me. Because I’m hoping for all kinds of things of which I’m not assured. And when our hope is frail, our boldness quivers.
How can we get a little holiness back in our hope? How can we get a little confidence back in our courage? How can we get a little joy back in a world where we toss hope around like pennies wasted in wishing wells?
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)
He who promised is faithful.
Our hope finds its foothold not in the strength of our faith but in the faithfulness of our God.
In the One who did not promise ease but promised presence.
In the One who did not promise everything but promised provision.
In the One who did not promise dreams-come-true but promised peace.
Even when the world wobbles on shaky legs, we are held in hands of promise so that our hands can hold fast to hope.
Hope that is sure. Hope that is certain. Hope that is steady.
Hope that is innocently childlike but strikingly wise.
Hope that will give the world pause.
Don’t let this world’s wishing wells hollow out your holy hope.