“Love…always hopes…”. In the way that trust cannot be commanded, neither can hope be commanded. The voices of hope are the free voices of joy and peace. The tears of oppression are pain and suffering that steal away our hope. Like trust, where there is love, hope will follow. Yesterday I asked if someone was impatient, jealous, proud, dishonoring, self-seeking, angry, unforgiving, happy when things happen to me, untruthful and does not protect me could I trust them? Today I ask the same question, asking if I felt all of these things, would I be hopeful? I don’t think so. On the other hand, much as I asked yesterday, if someone is patient, not jealous of me, humble, honoring, putting my interest first, slow to anger, forgiving, compassionate, truthful and protective of me, then I will start to hope. Love and Hope frees….hopelessness and a lack of love oppress. Hope is a direct result of love.
Hope is at the very center of our soul and without hope, our soul corrodes and life slowly seeps out of our very lives. Hope is the noble desire that lifts us up, that frees us and inspires us to be beyond what we are. Hope is more than desire…it is a desire that is coupled with God’s divine nature.
While there are many things that we can place our hope in, the hope that takes us to eternity is supernatural hope that can only be found in the divine nature of God. True hope is born of the seeds of the joy and peace resulting from love and empowered by the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). True hope is a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and conversely, the lack of hope must make us question how much influence we allow the Holy Spirit to influence us.
True hope is always coupled with love, the love that comes from heaven. Colossians 1:4-5a: “because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven…”. When there is hopelessness, we have to ask where is the love. In so many ways, the level of hope that we have is one of the metrics of how much love we have in our lives.
While everyone craves to have hope, we live in a world of hopelessness. Consider out media…the overwhelming majority of the stories are about hopelessness…crime, economic despair, human depravity, inequality.
Churches serve as an initial source of hope but is that hope sustainable? Every year a net 3,000 churches close their doors and each year 2,500,000 Americans stop going to church. This means that each year 2,500,000 Americans stop having hope in the message of the Church.
Divine true and sustainable hope has to have a foundation of love. If we are without love, our message of hope is just a clanging cymbal or resounding gong. It will fall flat and while it may attract attention in the short run, over a longer period of time it will burn out.
On the other hand, one of the most powerful things that a person can say to another is “I believe in you. There is enough condemnation around us that we each feel condemned…when someone says that they believe in us, we are liberated. This makes people loved and cared for. Hope is the language of love.
The question that I have to ask myself today, is does my love help instill hope in people’s lives? Or are my words and actions taking way what limited hope that they have? Am I loving or not? Am I hopeful or not. What is my hope based on? These are the things that I have to wrestle with. How is my love producing hope today?