Barack Obama has reignited the word hope. He even wrote a book about hope. His book is pretty convincing on the concept of hope, but sometimes hope is used so freely it looses it’s luster. I am not endorsing Obama, as most of our readers may know, but believe he has a good grasp of the meaning of hope. When we fall on hard times the bible provides good medicine in the message of hope. Old Testament accounts show suffering as the precursor of hope.
In the Old Testament, prophets warned people about sin and warned of God’s wrath to extinguish those sinful people. However, the prophets offered one message from God, hope. Hope in the Old Testament is not the same as we see hope today. Old Testament hope was a life and death situation. Today it has become merely a wish of good fortune. Hope and suffering as many have experienced does not measure nearly as bad as those in the Old Testament times.
The hope found in the Old Testament was based on deeds performed by God, such as the covenant made with Abraham by freeing the Israelites from Egypt. Hope today is a derivative of Old Testament hope, but often has no solid foundation for the feelings associated with it. Hope for the Israelites meant a belief that God would come through for them and release them from bondage, whereas today hope may be as simple as saying, “I hope the readers like this article.” Hope in materialistic objects is translucent, they come and go.
God has always been and will always be, so placing your hope in God is a sure bet. The relationship between hope and suffering is that there is no cause for hope without suffering. In my life, the time of the most suffering occurred when I was a child and living with my mother and step-father. My step-father was physically abusive. I held out the hope that someone would take me from that situation. I based my hope on the school counselors, who had inquired about my bumps and bruises. Eventually, they sent me to live with my grandmother. My life improved socially, physically and emotionally.
God does not judge you by the situations that you are going through, but by what you make out of those situations. The prophets preached God’s message of hope and God fulfilled their prophecy. Old Testament hope was based on God’s actions, unlike the hope of today, which is based more on materialistic ideals. I have experienced hope, based on God, and have also found myself hoping for meaningless things. I much prefer the hope that God provides.