Hope VS Wishful Thinking
Posted in: Bible Studies, Chaplains, Churches, Combat Trauma/PTSD, Community, Deployment, Discipleship, Family, Personal Growth
“Is that present what I think it is? The box looks about the right size. I sure hope so. I’ve really been wanting it. It is hard to wait until I can open it.”
“I hope I am selected for this new job.”
“I hope my husband comes home safely from deployment.”
“I hope my girlfriend is staying faithful to me while I am deployed.”
Is Hope Wishful Thinking?
I hope. I wish. This is fearful anticipation. This kind of hope is pinning my future on something over which I have no control. The possibility of disappointment is real and sometimes devastating.
Is that what God means when He says we are to hope in Him? Does He want us to just hope He comes through? To hope He is real? To hope He keeps His promises?
How is Hope in the Lord Different?
Here is a quick list of Scriptures (searching on “Hope in the Lord”). The link below will take you to BibleGateway.com where you can read all of these verses.
Psalm 31:24, Psalm 33:18, Psalm 33:20, Psalm 37:9, Psalm 37:34, Psalm 69:6, Psalm 130:5, Psalm 130:7, Psalm 131:3, Psalm 146:5, Psalm 147:11, Isaiah 40:31, Isaiah 49:23, Jeremiah 14:22, Jeremiah 17:13, Lamentations 3:25, Micah 7:7, Acts 8:22, 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 1 Peter 1:3, 1 Peter 3:15
What kind of attitude do you see these writers expressing? Wishful thinking? Or confidence? What is their confidence in? What is their hope based on?
Their hope is based solely on God, the only One who keeps His promises. He does not lie. He does not change.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)
If our hope is based on Him and what He says, then it is no longer wishful thinking, but a firm expectation. This is, actually, the definition of faith.
But what do you do with the grief from the losses you get slammed with?
Betrayal by a spouse….the never-ending road of the traumatically injured…the deaths of those you swore to protect…a global pandemic…the situations in which you see no hope at all.
These are — or appear to be — hopeless situations because we are incapable of altering them. Yet, we are not standing on these crumbling circumstances. We are standing on the solid, eternal rock of Jesus Christ. Will He change the circumstances? Maybe. Probably not.
Will He change His promise, His love, His sacrifice for us? No. Never.
Do I know why these things happen? No. Do I know someone who is good, who is there for me? Yes.
Can I wait for Him to accomplish His good purpose? By His strength, yes. And so can you.
Hope is based on who Christ is. Anything else is wishful thinking.
The Effect of Hopelessness
A horrifying statistic: on average, 22 veterans commit suicide every day. A common factor in suicide is hopelessness. The despair that there are no options, there is no way out, there is no hope. Tragically, even believers, are taking their own lives.
Suicide is the last-ditch effort of someone without hope to get relief from the overwhelming burden and disappointment of life. It is, by nature, a supremely selfish thing to do. Not to mention permanent and irreversible. It is not painless. Those left behind will live on with heart-rending pain.
Why would someone take such an irreversible step? What is keeping them from waiting one more day, looking for one more answer? I believe a key reason is the despairing lack of hope.
“Hope” is not just a nice thought. It isn’t a Hallmark card concept. “Hope” is bedrock truth. Hope in Christ is a lifeline we need to extend to everyone, especially to our military men and women, veterans, and their families.
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