Take a second and think about your immediate future. In the days ahead, what are you hoping will get better in your life? Don’t be shy. We all have our secret hopes. Maybe you are hoping that you will feel better physically. Maybe you hope you will find better friends. Maybe you hope that your finances will improve. By the way, that is why the lottery is so popular. It isn’t a realistic hope (they say that you are more likely to be hit by lightning twice than to win the mega lottery), but it does provide an exciting, although, temporary type of hope.
Experience has taught us that there are different kinds of hope and that some do make us feel better. Even a weak hope can keep us from sinking into despair. Just thinking that something good may happen soon lightens our step.
On the other hand, it gets discouraging when we repeatedly hope for good things that rarely or never happen. That is not a new problem.
When the New Testament was written, a great cloud of hopelessness hung over the world. Rome was fading as a world power, and morals were declining. Honored traditions were falling away. Even religions were powerless to prepare people to face either life or death. If that sounds strangely familiar, maybe it’s because it mirrors what we see in our world today.
Think about it. Our hopes that the pandemic would only last for a few weeks at most have been smashed. The health experts not only contradict each other, sometimes they even contradict themselves. The future seems to be looking darker and darker.
Where can we find an optimistic hope that is more than just an empty wish for something good that probably won’t happen?
We need a hope that is real, and we need it now!
As opposed to the everyday hope that we are familiar with, the hope that God offers is different. Hope in God is not a nail-biting, cross-your-fingers, hold-your-breath kind of hope. The hope that comes from God gives us solid confidence that what God promises, God will do.
We are saved from our sin when we put our faith in Jesus. Our hope in Him keeps us clinging to that faith. Not only does a believer receive complete forgiveness, adoption into God’s family, and a love for other believers, (see Romans 8:14-17), but God also gives believers glorious confidence in what is yet to come. Salvation infuses a Christian with a joyful hope that God will continue to do good to them in the future.
There is a passage in the Bible that uses a boat’s anchor as a beautiful word picture of what God’s wonderful hope is like. You will find it in Hebrews 6:17-19: “…God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise [of eternal forgiveness] the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge [in Christ] would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.”
We know what a boat’s anchor does. It keeps the boat from drifting when the anchor is lowered down to the water’s floor. When it grabs onto the soil below, you can feel that the anchor is working, even though you can’t see what it is holding on to. When you turn your life over to Jesus Christ, you can feel God holding on to you, even though you can’t see it with your physical eyes.
A Christian’s anchor is much better than a boat’s anchor because it is secured by the very presence of God Himself. Look again at the last phrase of the Bible passage above. “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.” The veil refers to a curtain in the Jewish Temple that surrounded the sacred room where God’s glorious presence appeared. The Bible calls that room the Holy of Holies. In other words, Christians have a hope that is secured by God’s very presence. There could be no greater hope than that!
You can have that kind of exciting hope for yourself when you “take hold of the hope set before us.” That will happen when God changes your heart. That is why Jesus said, “You must be born again” (John 3:7).
As Thomas Watson, a preacher from many years ago said, “We (Christians) are more sure to arise out of our graves than out of our beds.” In Titus 2:7 the Bible calls that our “blessed hope.” It keeps us going through good times and through bad. It anchors our souls!