There are times in life we need to have hope. And in most cases when we do, we are wishing for a preferred future outcome. So where are you in need of hope? Is it in the area of your health, finances, or in a relationship? Do you need hope in your suffering?
Professor of Psychology Barbara Fredrickson argues that one way hope comes into its own is when crisis looms, opening us to new creative possibilities. Frederickson argues that with great need comes an unusually wide range of ideas, as well as such positive emotions as happiness and joy, courage, and empowerment, drawn from four different areas of one’s self: from a cognitive, psychological, social, or physical perspective. She said hopeful people are “like the little engine that could,” because they keep telling themselves “I think I can, I think I can.” Such positive thinking bears fruit when based on a realistic sense of optimism, or “real hope,” rather than a naive “false hope”.
Much of our hope is based on our own willpower or our self-motivation. We have aspirations to attain something and we set goals to get us there. For instance, “I hope to become a major league baseball or football player. Or I hope to become an accomplished singer or dancer.” We are driven by our own desires.
What about placing our hope in God? The Bible is full of stories of hope. God’s followers are hoping for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven. Or, said another way, the Christian is hoping for the fruition of what has already begun, the full arrival of God’s Kingdom and we pin our hopes on the God of that Kingdom. Our hope in God is both a present and future reality.
The apostle Paul wrote in several places about what hope leads to or makes: patience, courage, and joy. It is one of the three things which lasts: faith, hope, and love. We will begin a new sermon series titled the “Power of Hope” found in Paul’s writings this week in Romans 5: 1-5. Please join us in worship the next several weeks on a variety of topics that will focus on hope.
Hope to see you Sunday!
Pastor Dave Weaver