‘And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.’ Romans 5,5
Are you familiar with this story?
A man sentenced to death obtained a reprieve by assuring the king he would teach his majesty’s horse to fly within the year – on the condition that if he didn’t succeed, he would be put to death at the end of the year. “Within a year,” the man explained later, “the king may die, or I may die, or the horse may die. Furthermore, in a year, who knows? Maybe the horse will learn to fly.”
Do you ever hear people say, “I don’t want to get my hopes up” because they’re afraid of being disappointed? What would you make of Paul’s claim that “hope does not disappoint”? Maybe he simply knows the difference between hope and expectations? Max Lucado thinks so, in his book ‘God came near’ he writes:
“Hope is not what you’d expect; it is what you would never dream. It is a wild, improbable tale with a pinch-me-I’m-dreaming ending… Hope is not a granted wish or a favour performed; no, it is far greater than that. It is a zany, unpredictable dependence on a God who loves to surprise us out of our socks and be there in the flesh to see our reaction.”
Expectations are based on past experience or the goals we have set for ourselves. There is an element of control in our expectations, for example: if I do good work, I expect a raise. If I don’t get a raise, or if it’s not as much as expected, I get upset. Hope requires more faith and admitting that we are not in control.
What do you expect in the near future? Well, exactly – good question! Coronavirus has shaken up our lives and we don’t know what to think or expect anymore. But there is still hope. We can still hope. The word ‘hope’ is mentioned around 160 times in the Bible. After Psalms, Job, which tells the story of a man who lost everything, is the book using the word “hope” the most – more than 20 times! How often do we use this word in our everyday lives?
Expectations lead to disappointment, but hope is a constant miracle, it is the work of the Holy Spirit and never disappoints. May we spend this month, this Pentecost enfolded in God’s hope and be transformed by it.
Wishing you every blessing,