“Our hope for you is firm”.
2 Cor 1:7 NIV
Many Christian believers, including plenty of teachers, miss the point of one of the most important notes in the faith. Christian hope, they assume, refers to life after death. It does, but it includes much more.
The writers of the Bible introduced a whole new idea of time. Previously people had thought that time was cyclical. The same thing happened over and over – seasons, life and death, historical events. The Bible’s idea of God cut across this cyclical concept. God intervenes – frequently – and does some new thing. When he called Abraham that was a new departure for God – choosing a special people and guiding them. When God rescued the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt this was a monumental event. Nothing like it had ever happened before. They saw times as linear – a long straight line of events, all of them being interventions of God, some of them changing the idea of God and history for ever. Each intervention was a “day of the Lord”. History was a joining together of all the days of the Lord, and filling in the in-between times. Because God was capable of striking out in a new direction you could conceive of a future in which God would do something new. Believing that God could – and would, do a new thing – was hope, faith shot into the future. So when we pray “Thy Kingdom come” we are asking for God to break in. Believing that he will is hope. And this hope determines our whole approach to life, to faith and to history in all its meandering and seemingly pointless progress. Hope in God for this life and for his world.
Lord, help me always to hope – firmly and strongly.