If you’re not a college basketball fan, “March Madness” may have seemed straight up nuts to you. And you know what? Maybe it was. I’ll admit I was one of those crazy fans hoping against hope that my team would win the tournament. It didn’t turn out that way, but it was fun to follow the games and root for my alma mater.
But let’s be honest: my “hope” was little more than a kind of wishful thinking. I had absolutely no control over the outcome, no matter how much I wanted to see my team prevail. I could hope for it all day long but that had no impact on how things ended up.
Basketball is one thing, but many of us approach life that way. We adopt a fingers-crossed kind of optimism and we call that hope. We want what we want and when it doesn’t happen, we’re disappointed but not really surprised. We were just hoping.
That may be a tolerable definition of what it means to hope when all that hangs in the balance is the final score of a sporting event. For that matter, it’s surely okay to hope it stops raining before the picnic or hope the traffic clears up so I won’t be late for work. But in the deep weeds of life we need to do better than that.
When reality slams us to the mat, positive thinking doesn’t cut it. If we’re facing job loss, relational breakdown, devastating illness, or any of a litany of other crises, we’re going to need a better strategy, a sure thing we can hope in.
Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) So there it is: trouble is a given in this life. We suspected as much. But the sure thing we need to hold on to and put our hope in is this: Jesus has already overcome it.
If our hope is rooted in nothing more than a deep desire that things will go favorably, a longing within ourselves, we may as well “wish upon a star” for all the good that does. But as Christians, we don’t have to settle for that kind of hope. We have so much more.
- We can place our hope in God’s Word and the truth of His promises there.
- We can trust Him when He says He will work all things together for the good for those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)
- We can count on Him being right beside us in those deep weeds; nothing takes Him by surprise.
- We can be sure He is always forming us in His likeness and will redeem every situation for His glory.
We don’t have to bite our nails and wonder how things will turn out. Ours can be the settled confidence of a faith rooted in certainty. That’s the kind of true hope that changes everything.
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