The Christian understanding of hope illustrates how trivial our everyday use of the word can be. We hope that it will not rain or be too hot for the school sports day, or hope that the heating will work or the electrician will turn up to make any necessary repairs.
At a deeper level, hope is a universal human phenomenon. People hope for peace in time of war; food in time of famine; justice in time of oppression. Where hope is lost there is despair and disintegration. Hope generates energy and sustains people through difficult times. For some people, hope is so strong that it inspires self-sacrifice to turn hope into reality.
Christian hope is grounded in the character of God. Christian hope for the future has its guarantee in the resurrection of Jesus. The prophets always spoke of a time to come when the whole world would be restored to God. For Christians, Jesus’ death and resurrection has set this in motion.
Christian hope means trusting in the loving purposes of God: trusting that the foundations of the world are good because they spring from God. It means believing that, ultimately, we are destined to share in that goodness because of what Jesus has done. He had to pass through the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ but the victory has been won and our share in that victory is assured.
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honour depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
(Christian Values for Schools)