The Meaning of Hope

Lately, I have heard myself repeating the cliché words “don’t give up hope!”  I cringe because it sounds so generic and does not convey the meaning that I really intend.  Hope is not merely wishful thinking. It’s not just having a positive attitude. It’s not just a nice word on my coffee mug that gives me a warm fuzzy as I sip my coffee early in the morning.  In the last six months, God has been unveiling the meaning of hope in my life.  

When I say “don’t give up hope”, I really mean “God’s hand is still in this and He is not done. You can’t see right now what He is doing in this painful situation, but God IS doing something, even if we can’t see it on the stage of life.”  If we stop hoping, we might miss out on seeing what God will do.  When I hope, I feel God guiding me to fly above the difficulty instead of getting stuck in the middle of it.  By keeping on hoping, it pulls me up out of the muck and mire and helps me see a bird’s eye view of the situation, even if it is extremely foggy.

On the Desiring God blog for December 8, 2011, Sam Crabtree explains the meaning of hope: “Hope believes that God is not done. Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not the feeling we will have. That is, hope is the (up) feeling we have that the (down) feeling we have is not permanent. “  Hope sees the ultimate reality. Trusting is God is the only way to sustain hope.

Sam Crabtree also draws a link between gratitude and hope.  Gratitude looks backward and fuels the hope that looks forward with reasonable confidence and expectation.  He goes on to say that ungrateful people tend not to be hopeful.  I resolve to become a more grateful and hopeful person!

God was not done when Noah was in the boat, Sarah was barren, Joseph was in prison, Moses was on the run from Pharaoh, the children of Israel were pinned against the Red Sea, the walls of Jericho blocked possession of the promised land, Gideon was hiding from the Midianites, Samson was seduced by a woman and blinded, Ruth was widowed, David was mocked as a boy facing a giant, Job’s children were all killed, government officials persecuted Daniel, Jonah was in the belly of a fish, Paul couldn’t get rid of this thorn, and Jesus was put in the grave. God is not done!

Hope is becoming multi-dimensional for me this season of commemorating the time when God poured out His love to us by becoming man. When He was born as a baby, He was not done. When He died on the cross, He was finished with His sacrificial work but He was not done acting in the world.  When He was resurrected, the sacrifice for sin was complete, but sin still exists.  We wait for Jesus’s return with hopefulness while we still live in the realm of the already/not yet. 


  1. Such a great post, Paula. Thank you for it.

  2. Beautifully written. I hadn't thought of hope like that, and it is comforting. Thank you.

  3. I like Sam's definition of hope! Very biblically based and easily understandable. Good post. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas. WB