Can you think of a time when you were preparing to go to someone’s home who you knew was preparing well for your visit and would be ready to welcome you warmly into their home? Can you imagine how they prepared good food for your visit? They probably created an environment in their home that would communicate that they honored you as their guest? You looked forward to your visit with them knowing that you would be safe, well cared for and at rest in their presence. You anticipated welcome and went eagerly! That is the essence of Hope.
My favorite definition of hope is to anticipate welcome. Hope creates an eagerness and confidence about going where you’re going.
About the time our son was 4 years old, my husband and I enjoyed exercising in our home together. We bought a workout band that had handles on one end. On the other end was a ball attached to a strap that you were supposed to put above the door, inside the door frame. It created an anchor for the exercise bands. Our son figured out that if he pulled the bands back, sat down on the slippery hardwood floor and lifted his feet, the bands would pull him in the direction of the anchor! This was such a fun ride for him! Over and over he pulled back, sat down and enjoyed the ride towards the anchor.
He expected the band to hold tight and pull him in the direction of the anchor. He demonstrated his confidence in band and the anchor by his actions. He trusted them with abandon and delight!
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.
We can be absolutely persuaded (that's faith!) and confident that this band of faith will pull us in the direction we hope to go, both now in this life and in Heaven, because Jesus went first. Before Jesus, no one was allowed into the presence of God expect the high priest on the Day of Atonement. But when Jesus died, the separation between us and God died with Him. When Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to the Father He planted the anchor of our salvation in Heaven with God! And nothing can move it! You can hang on to your faith, confident that the anchor of your hope will bring you safely home, right through the door, which is Jesus Himself.
The Second Half of the Story…
But, that isn’t the end of the tale for our son and his fun game. One evening we had friends over for dinner. When they came in with food in hand to share and their kids running around, the door that held the anchor for the exercise band didn’t fully latch properly. So, when he went to pull back on the bands, instead of being joyously pulled forward, the anchor came loose and shot towards him, smacking him in the forehead! Thankfully, a few weeks of strong bandages were all that he needed to recover.
Have you ever felt like your hope, the anchor you were relying on to pull you towards it, instead just came back and hit you in the forehead? You felt like God was leading you in a certain direction, you thought it would go a certain way, and it didn’t? Expectation turned into pain?
We need to recognize the difference between “expectation” and “hope”, and what they are founded on.
There is one body and one Spirit,
just as you were called to one hope.
There is one hope, and it is not anchored in people, circumstances or outcomes. Remember, this world is not our home. We are passing through. The anchor of our hope is in the promises of God, which are foundational and sure. They ground us and keep us moving securely in the right direction, no matter what life throws at us. So, we must know what He promises and what He didn’t promise. Because if you’re putting your hope in something God never promised, it may likely backfire on you, and it will hurt.
Putting hope IN your expectations for how life will turn out, rather than the promises of God, will lead to all kinds of problems relation to yourself, others and God. You risk being disappointed, which is often followed by bitterness.
Expectation - Hebrew Mabbat (noun) = object of hope or confidence
The object of our hope must be the solid door of Jesus. We must cling to His Words! We need to be like David and say, “Oh how I love your Torah (way/law)”. Devour His words. And, fix your eyes, not on people or circumstances, but on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. Put your hope in God and His Word, not specific outcomes in this world.
And yet, we must remember what Jesus taught us to pray.
“Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.”
And the hope that David expressed.
I would have despaired unless I believed I would see the goodness of the LORD in the Land of the living.
Life will not often turn out the way you think it will. Hold those expectations with an open hand before the Lord. At the same time, know and cling to the promises of God. Anchor your hope in Jesus, and you will see the goodness of God in your life on earth. And you will see the face of God in Heaven.