Faith, hope, and love abide. – 1 Corinthians 13:13
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. – Hebrews 10:19-22
Most people understand hope as wishful thinking, as in “I hope something will happen.” This is not what the Bible means by hope. The biblical definition of hope is “confident expectation.” Hope is a firm assurance regarding things that are unclear and unknown. Hope is a fundamental component of the life of the righteous. Without hope, life loses its meaning and in death there is no hope. The righteous who trust or put their hope in God will be helped, and they will not be confounded, put to shame, or disappointed. The righteous, who have this trustful hope in God, have a general confidence in God’s protection and help and are free from fear and anxiety.
The New Testament idea of hope is the recognition that in Christ is found the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises. Christian hope is rooted in faith in the divine salvation in Christ. Hope of Christians is brought into being through the presence of the promised Holy Spirit. It is the future hope of the resurrection of the dead, the promises given to Israel, the redemption of the body and of the whole creation, eternal glory, eternal life and the inheritance of the saints, the return of Christ, transformation into the likeness of Christ, the salvation of God, or simply Christ Himself.
The certainty of this blessed future is guaranteed through the indwelling of the Spirit, Christ in us, and the resurrection of Christ. Hope is produced by endurance through suffering and is the inspiration behind endurance. Trustworthy promises from God give us hope, and we may boast in this hope and exhibit great boldness in our faith. By contrast, those who do not place their trust in God are said to be without hope.
Along with faith and love, hope is an enduring virtue of the Christian life, and love springs from hope. Hope produces joy and peace in believers through the power of the Spirit. Paul attributes his apostolic calling to the hope of eternal glory. Hope in the return of Christ is the basis for believers to purify themselves in this life.
Straight or gay, hope is one of the essential things we all need to hold on to. In classical Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman on Earth. Zeus ordered Hephaestus to create her. So he did, using water and earth. The gods endowed her with many gifts: Athena clothed her, Aphrodite gave her beauty, Apollo gave her musical ability, and Hermes gave her speech. One day, Pandora opened a jar (usually referred to as a box) containing death and all the evils of the world which were then released into the world. She hastened to close the container, but the whole contents had escaped except for one thing that lay at the bottom – hope. Hope springs eternal, and it should always be kept in reserve because we need to have hope.
This last week has been a difficult week for me spiritually. My spirit has been sad and distraught. Last Sunday, I talked about having faith in God, and while that has not wavered, I have learned that I can lose faith in people. When you have a great respect for and trust in someone and they betray your respect and trust and prove unworthy of your faith, it made my ideal of faith waiver. But, I refuse to let it cause my faith in God to waiver. It is as strong as ever, and my faith in God grows stronger with His gift of hope.
I have hope that Christians who teach with ignorance and misunderstanding, while spreading hate, will finally be awakened by God’s light of love. It have hope that religious extremist will see that LGBT Christians often have the greatest faith in God. When evangelicals tell us that God has turned his back on us, hope allows us to have faith that God would never turn His back on us. Hope allows us to believe that there will be a better day coming for all of us, especially in the LGBT community. Not all Christians will accept us as an essential and integral part of Christianity, but there will always be false teachers and those who claim that they a carrying out the will of God under mistaken beliefs and are actually carrying out the wishes of Evil. Hope allows us to look forward to our rightful place in heaven with out King. So I call on all LGBT Christians to not lose their faith and to keep hope alive.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blessed:
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
– Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man