Summary: Hebrews 6:19: We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
We live in turbulent times. From a global pandemic to political controversy to mental health issues, racial tensions, suicides, and gun violence, storms are brewing and sweeping the world. In times like these, we find our emotions going from extreme highs to severe lows. It is as if we are being tossed around like a ship on the sea as the rain pounds, the thunder deafens, and the waves crash all over us. If ever there was a need for an anchor for the soul, it is now!?
In my book, Hope Rising: Finding Hope in a Turbulent World (https://weservenow.org/books/). I dive deeper into the need for hope and what true hope is.
First, let us talk about what hope is not. Biblical hope is not the kind of worldly hope we often express when we hope our favorite sports team wins a game or championship. We may hope they win; we may be confident that they will win, but we cannot be 100% certain they will always win. This kind of hope is wishful, not guaranteed. We may also hope for the best in situations, or hope we have good luck with something, or kids may wish for certain gifts on their birthday or holidays, but this is not the kind of hope the bible speaks about.
Biblical hope is also not human optimism. Again, we often talk about "looking on the bright side" to try to provide a level of comfort or positivity in situations. While it is not wrong to see a glass of water as half full verse half empty to borrow another common expression about optimism, this is not the essence of Biblical hope. It is not a hope dependent upon human personality, or we must look deep within for or muster up within our strength.
Biblical hope is rooted and grounded in the unchanging nature and character of God. It is found in Jesus Christ, who is our immovable Rock. It is a hope anchored not just in the promises of God but the very person of God. It is a hope we receive from God as we look to him. And hope is vital to living a full and true Christian life.
The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:13, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love." In other words, when you boil down the true Christian life, you come away with three essential components: faith, hope, and love. The apostle Paul would note that love is the greatest of these, but that is because our faith will one day give way to sight, and our hope will be fully realized, while love will endure for all eternity as God is love. However, the fact that love is the greatest does not mean faith and hope are not critical to life here and now. On the contrary, they are essential and irreplaceable during our time on earth.
Interestingly, as I write in chapter three of my book Hope Rising, a chapter I titled, "As the World Gets Better, People are Losing Hope," there is an interesting global phenomenon happening. As people's standards of living improve, there is also a corresponding decrease in hope. A case can be made that we live in an era where more people are educated than ever before, access to health care has dramatically increased. People's overall standard of living is higher than at any other time in human history. However, despite all this outward progress, depression is the most significant health problem, and the suicide rate continues to increase as people lose hope. Even secular authors recognize we have needs beyond the material or physical. Emotional intelligence has been more popular in recent years, and people are paying more attention to their mental, emotional, even spiritual well-being, whether Christian or not.
Do you remember the story of when Jesus' disciples were caught in a vicious storm that threatened their lives? In Mark's gospel, we read this, "A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" (Mark 4:37-38).
It was not just their physical bodies that were being tossed to and fro. It was also their emotions. Perhaps you can relate. It may not be a physical storm threatening your life. It may not be actual water in which you fear drowning. Nevertheless, we all go through various storms in life in which we feel like we are going to drown, and God does not care.
The disciples interpreted Jesus' sleeping as not caring about their plight. However, Jesus' sleeping was evidence of his deep trust and peace despite the storm raging around them. He was not going to let the circumstances he was in dictate his emotional state. As he would demonstrate upon rising and calming the storm, the storm did not have power over him; he had power over the storm!