Eugene Peterson (Living the Message: Daily Help for Living the God-Centered Life) points out that what a lot of people call hope is in reality something different. It's wishing, not hoping: and wishing and hoping are not the same thing.
"Wishing," Peterson says, "is something all of us do. It projects what we want or think we need into the future. Just because we wish for something good or holy we think it qualifies as hope. It does not. Wishing extends our egos into the future; hope grows out of our faith. Hope is oriented toward what God is doing; wishing is oriented toward what we are doing."
Peterson goes on to say that we can picture wishing as though it were a line coming out from us with an arrow on the end, pointing into the future, pointing toward that thing we most want to possess. Hope is just the opposite. It's a line that comes from God out of the future, with its arrow pointing toward us.
"Hope," he continues, "means being surprised, because we don't know what is best for us or how our lives are going to be completed. To cultivate hope is to suppress wishing -- to refuse to fantasize about what we want, but live in anticipation of what God is going to do next."
(HomileticsOnline.com, 11/27/11, illustration for Psalm 85)
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