Summary: Looking at Happiness, Optimism, Patience, and Expectation--Some characteristics of HOPE
The Beauty of Hope: Just a peek into its power
By Peter Nieman Martin, Sr.
That we are facing difficult times in these United States there is no doubt. Newspapers and news programs greet us with stories of an economy brought to its knees by greed and mismanagement. The worries of those who can no longer support their families because they are no longer working, and the tears of those who have worked hard to buy a home just to see it in foreclosure because the complex mortgages which benefitted the mortgage companies were not sufficiently explained to the buyer are the just the tip of the iceberg of our troubles. One could go on about the many other kinds of troubles, but they are known all too well. What good would it serve? This paper is about the power to endure under these great pressures. No doubt you have heard that coal when subjected to great pressures over time becomes a diamond.
As Christians we are told by the man who knew what suffering was all about that “we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” We have been given the capacity to withstand even the most difficult episodes if we would only take it. I want to talk about a powerful ally in our struggles—HOPE. How many times have we used that word in daily conversation without looking into its properties? The design of this writing is not to exhaust all the possibilities of HOPE but rather to examine a few aspects of it so as to give us an anchor for the time being. Know this that the more you grow in the Lord, the heavier your anchor will become—and the heavier the anchor, the more you will be able to secure your vessel (soul). In your patience possess ye your souls. But for the moment let us give HOPE a face. We will take it from its abstract appearance and transform it into something we can handle with our minds, molding it at will by the strength of our faith. Each letter will stand for something relevant to us.
H—Happiness, O—Optimism, P—Patience, and E---Expectation
We are familiar with these words, and it is with them that we are going to fashion a garment fitted for HOPE by each of us when situations arise. Bear with me as I try to do this correctly (I indeed need your longsuffering here). HAPPINESS is something that we have known and loved all of our lives. It is the state of being that we constantly aspire to be in when we can. The fruits of our labors are for this very thing. We judge our success in life by the degree of HAPPINESS we have obtained. But is this real happiness? In order to be really HAPPY, we need to look at HAPPINESS in a different way. That “new look” is the bible’s definition of it. The introduction to the Sermon on the Mount will suffice as an introduction to this “new look” –consider Matthew 5:1-10 from the Amplified.
1. Seeing the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.
2. Then He opened His mouth and taught them saying:
3. Blessed---happy, and to be envied, and spiritually prosperous [that is, with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions]---are the poor in spirit (the humble, rating themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!
4. Blessed and enviably happy, [with a happiness produced by experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted! [Isaiah 61:2.]
5. Blessed---happy, blithesome, joyous, spiritually prosperous [that is with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions] ---are the meek (the mild, patient, longsuffering), for they shall inherit the earth! [Psalms 37:11.]
6. Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous [that is, in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied! [Isaiah 55:1, 2.]
7. Blessed---happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous [that is, with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of outward conditions]--are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy!
8. Blessed---happy, enviably fortunate, and spiritually prosperous [that is, possessing the happiness produced by experience of God’s favor and especial;;y conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions]---are the pure in heart, for they shall see God! [Psalms 24:3, 4.]
9. Blessed---enjoying enviable happiness, especially prosperous [that is with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions]---are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!