- Friday, June 18, 2004
What is hope?
An ad in the Roanoke, Ill., Review once read: "Hope chest: brand new, half price, long story."
Try a long time instead of a long story, says Megan, age 7: "I think hope is when you wish for something to go a certain way, and sometimes you have to wait for a long time."
While Megan waits, Richard, 9, gets another at-bat: "Hope is another chance to do something like if your baseball game is tied, you still have hope to win." And Austin, 5, sees hope slithering through the grass when he says, "I hope I can get a pet snake."
Fisher, 6, equates hope with strategic begging: "You keep saying please for a new toy, and Mom buys it." But Parker, 5, links hope to disappointment, such as hoping for a new toy "but sometimes it doesn't work out." Parker's link to disappointment probably comes from the familiar expression "I hope so," which sometimes conveys a sense of pessimism.
In the Bible, the word "hope" conveys assurance concerning the future based on God's promises and faithfulness. As Will, 10, says, "Hope is to look forward to something with a feeling of expectation or confidence. Christians always know they have hope because they have God in their hearts."
When Jesus rose from the dead, the old way of relating to God through outward temple rituals was replaced by the inner reality of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Under the new covenant, God pours out his Spirit upon all his people and writes his law on their hearts, as foretold by the Hebrew prophets (Joel 2; Jeremiah 31).
Hope is practical, says Justin, 10: "Hope is talking to God every day expecting an answer. Hope is having Jesus to talk to. Hope is being satisfied with what God has given you."
Remember the feeling of Christmas morning? "Hope is a thing that makes you feel kind of good inside, sort of like you're going to get a gift," says David, 9.
Every day can be like Christmas morning for Christians who realize the best is yet to come. Jesus will "take these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like his own" (Philippians 3:21). The Apostle John called this hope or expectation a purifying hope.
A purifying hope is the difference between knowing your boss is on a long vacation and knowing he could walk into the workplace at any moment. Christians who live in eager expectation of being translated into another realm at any moment will put off every temporal distraction to follow the One who lives inside them.
"Hope can be powered by Satan or by God," says Madeline, 11. "Let your hope be controlled by God."
Hope powered by Satan reminds me of my teen years, when I was running from God. I was always looking for something new and exciting -- always being disappointed and never feeling satisfied. Some people live their entire lives like that.
My favorite explanation of hope comes from Nikki, 9, who says: "Hope is wishing for something. Hope is also having a kind of grace."
The Apostle Paul preached a message of hope that turned a mighty Roman Empire upside down. Through arrests, false accusations and beatings, he displayed an uncommon grace that bore witness to the hope within him.
"Hope is God's gift to us," says Amal, 10. Yes, God's gift of hope is a person, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Point to ponder: Hope or confidence of being transformed into the likeness of Christ is the inheritance of every Christian. Scripture to remember: "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). Question to consider: Who is powering your hope?
Inspire your children by reading this column with them and visiting the Kids Talk About God website at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. Bible quotations from the New King James Version and the New Living Translation.
And -- You'll smile, laugh and wonder when you see the new KTAG TV commercials and hear the radio spots at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org.
© 2004 CAREY KINSOLVING
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