Art by Josh Carswell, St Paul’s Collegiate

We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul

Heb 6:19

What it is:

Hope is an anchor. It grips the solid foundation of a sometimes wild and always unexpected sea and holds us fast. Unlike “wishful thinking” which is only “wishful” because there’s no reason to think it’s likely to happen, true hope is grounded firmly in conviction or knowledge or strong belief. What we hope for may be in the future, but we are convinced of its coming in some form.

Although hope is indeed something we ‘value’ deeply, it is also a grace, given by God, and vital for us all. Hope enables us to see past the problems of this moment to a time when they will be over; it enables us to face what may seem the insurmountable crises of our lives and our globe and not give up, not despair. But here’s the catch: without a belief in a Divine Being who is love, hope can be very difficult to maintain and will become increasingly so as our planet’s climate and ecosystems decline. Even before then, without the belief in a life beyond this one, our hope in the face of death can be no more than wishful thinking or satisfaction that the nutrients of our body will enrich the soil. Christians, in contrast, have hope for life now and the future.

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope

Jeremiah 29:11

This certainty that a Being way beyond our wildest imaginings is one who loves us and has “plans… to give us a future with hope” is a unique and precious gift that we in our schools can offer our students. 

What it is not.

Hope is not positive thinking or wishful thinking. It is not crossing our fingers or “touching wood” or willing something to be so. Hope is not pulled out of thin air, but is grounded in experience, relationship and knowledge.

What makes this a Christian value?

Hope is trust that God is not capricious but loving; that the world is not an accident but a place full of purpose; that Christ has truly conquered death.

It is significant that the word for “hope” is not common in the Bible until we get to the Epistles. After the disciples have witnessed Jesus’ resurrection, suddenly hope is everywhere! 

In the Epistles, hope is grounded solidly in God. I Thess 1:3; I Tim 4:10, Rom 15:13; Acts 24:15; I Peter 1:21, 3:-5; I Tim 5:5. That is our foundation.

Image may contain: one or more people, possible text that says '"While optimism makes us live as if someday soon things will get better for us, hope frees us from the need to predict the future and allows us to live in the present, with deep trust that God will never leave us alone." Henri Nouwen HENRINOUWEN.OR'