Drinking Deeply

Thursday, May 19, 2005 at 1:19 AM

What is "hope"?

So this is something I've been thinking about on and off over the course of the year. Some of it is because our vision this year is "pursuing faith hope and love."

What exactly does hope mean?

Some verses (some, by no means exhaustive)

) 1Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
So hope does not include an assurance. hope+assurance is our faith.
)8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

So it seems that hope is one of those things that will not pass away, and its distinguishable from faith and love (since love is the "greatest")

Though another question is: Is there hope in heaven? Initially I would have said "no" for says

24For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

And it feels like there wouldn't be anything else that we would not see. But with , since knowledge has not passed away (and it seems to imply that it will when the perfect, Christ, will come) it is implying that hope is one of those things that will not pass away. Weird! Maybe we can still hope in God, for God is Spirit and invisible? But Christ will be our light in the New Heaven, so we can see that... maybe? Can you see light? Am I just playing semantics?

Now, these really aren't that bad, but the verses that really throw me for a loop (and lead me to conclude that my perception of hope isn't entirely consistent with Scripture) is and .

3More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

4For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Both of these have a distinct chain of events: A leads to B leads to C leads to ... and one of those links is "endurance" and the final link (described) is "hope." So somehow hope is a fruit of endurance (and this parallel is most clearly seen in because it's clear that hope is a fruit of the encouragement of the Scriptures). But usually we see hope as producing endurance and not the other way around. How can endurance somehow produce hope? We can endure things because we know that there are great things to be hoped for (), but yet at the same time somehow it seems to link hope and endurance the other way around with endurance leading to hope.

Someone else also pointed out the possibility that by enduring one thing, we can have hope that we can endure other things too... but then the question is "how did we endure that one thing... and why?" and I feel like right now that answer has to be "because we were looking ahead" which seems to be "hope" So confusing!

Something I'm not saying (and this is seen by the context of where it says that God is a God of endurance) is that we somehow need to endure in order to have hope. No, hope, along with faith, and along with everything else, are gifts of God. I'm just trying to get my head around the idea of how endurance can produce hope.

Of course, one answer that someone gave me is that "well, God's ways are higher than ours so we should accept it as a mystery." I guess to an extent that's true, because he does have secret things that He does not reveal to us, but I do feel like Scriptures is clear enough that if God decides to reveal deeper insight into it (and not even extra-Scriptural visions or anything like that), we can figure out what He means by that and it's logic. Will I completely comprehend God? Of course not, but I can seek to have a complete limited knowledge of God in accordance to Scripture, and I guess that's why this question plagues me.

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