I am a Detroit Tigers fan. Yes, I admit it, I love the Tigers. That is a baseball team for those who are not fans. As any true baseball fan knows, our sport is a fickle one. It is the longest of all professional seasons and has double the games of the other sports: 162 encounters spanning seven months not including spring training. As I type these words, the Tigers are in third place and have won eighteen games and have also lost eighteen games. But I have hope… Hope that they will surge into first place in their division by the end of the year, hope that they will win the American League pennant, and hope that they will prevail in the World Series. To be honest, this type of hope is just a wish, not founded in any reality other than my dreams. As a fan, I live in the “just wait until next year” fantasy.
Contrast that to Romans 5:5: “…hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Hope rooted in God’s promises is not the same as “baseball hope”, which is mere wishful thinking. Biblical hope is assurance of certainty… God is at work and He will redeem our world and us in the process. Here are some actions that help keep me grounded in this hope:
- Focusing on God’s faithfulness… I need to remember that God has blessed me in so many ways, and reminding myself of these gifts is a reminder of what is to come.
- Praying through the fog… My communication to God is a necessary element of remaining hopeful. It crystalizes my emotions as I’m in the process of verbalizing what’s on my heart to the One who loves me perfectly.
- Silence in the midst of chaos… we live in a noisy culture. Cultivate the habit of getting alone and being silent. Clear your mind of the clutter of the day and be still, knowing that God is indeed God.
- Listening to God… a wonderful product of our silence is that we’re finally able to begin to hear what God might be saying to us. Let Him speak to your heart.
The Tigers are doing OK as I write these words. They might even have a good season, but I would not take that to the bank just yet. What I should do is remember that I have a hope, and that hope isn’t based on wishful thinking but on the One who is the same both yesterday, today, and forever. Our hope is also our assurance that God will one day make all things right. Now that’s something to hope for!