“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
Several years ago, I hopped on board with a trend that millennials like to call their “word for the year.” Instead of picking a new year’s resolution goal, you pick a word that you want your year centered around. I had no clue what I wanted “my word” to be, so like any good Christian, I prayed and asked the Lord to reveal His desire for that year.
Hope, He answered.
I was floored. Hope?! I barely even know what that means (okay, I did, but I had never considered it to be a central theme in my own faith). I viewed the word as more of wish-list excitement type deal than anything super spiritual. But even so, I dug in. The Lord answered my wondering about the definition of hope in many different avenues both big and small.
I used to define hope in a shallow way, synonymous for wishing gain upon myself. As in “I hope to one day own my own non-profit” or “I hope to get a cat when I am older”, etc. But that year, and the years to follow, taught me that hope is a heavenly perspective, driven by perseverance, thankfulness, and faith. Hope is far beyond what we wish to one day become or accomplish; it is instead a lens through which we view our short time on this side of heaven. A lens where we are focused on the joy and promises that are to come, and the assurance that they will. With hope, our hearts grow in gratitude, peace, and faith. We have full belief in what we cannot see, but we know to be true. Hope is the longing for our true citizenship in Heaven, and a reckless pursuit of racing after the city that is about to come. And we find this looking upward, not looking outward.
In Hebrews 11:1, the original translation for “hope” means to wait for salvation with joy and full confidence. We hope not because we see, but because we know. We are confident in what is proven to be true; that the redemption is real and salvation is here. The verse goes on to read that faith and hope are convictions of things that are not seen. It seems almost like an oxi-moron: believing beyond belief in something we can’t see. But our God is bigger and stronger and deeper in ways that have been shown to us over and over and over again. We don’t have to see to know. It’s already been proven to us.
Hope isn’t easy. Often times we don’t feel it. We don’t conjure it up magically. But we do choose it. And when we choose hope, we are gifted with glimpses of it. As we become hunters of grace and beauty in our world, we become steadfast in our conviction of what is to come. And we often find that, for those who choose to see, the world’s beauty outweighs its burdens, its grace greater than its grime.