Saturday, January 29, 2011
Real Hope or False Hope? Knowing the Difference
Walking with HOPE is not a fairy tale. It's not like being in a Disney cartoon where bluebirds carrying colorful ribbons lead the way and happy chipmunks wave as you skip down the lane and daisies bloom instantly at your feet.
It's all about knowing the difference between false hope and true hope.
Here's the thing. After a relationship ends, you may hope the one you cared about will come back. “False hope” is when you expect him to return when it’s highly unlikely or even impossible that he will. Because you want it to happen so badly, you may deny the reality that he is already in another relationship, that he’s married, or that—for whatever reason—he is going in another direction without you.
You can, however, be optimistic that things will get better in your life and that God has good things for you down the road.
False hope is like being a Pollyanna-—optimistic, yet blind to reality. It is wishful thinking or vain imaginations.
Real hope, biblical hope, is different.
Biblical hope is confident trust in the reliability of God’s promises. It is solid and strong because it is based upon God’s words in the Bible. “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)
Hope presses on and looks ahead. “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13, 14).
Day or night, ask God to show you what to do, to guide your path so you can look forward with trust, not trepidation.
When Hope Road seems to zig zag and you cannot see the way ahead, Hebrews 10:23 encourages you to press on with confidence and perseverance. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
Finally, biblical hope believes that God will give good things. He protects and He provides as He sees best.
Eugene Peterson said, “Hoping is not dreaming. It is not spinning an illusion or fantasy to protect us from our boredom or our pain. It means a confident, alert expectation that God will do what he said he will do. It is a willingness to let God do it his way and in his time.”
When nothing seems to be happening…
When you are tired of trying to make things work out on your own…
When you cannot see ahead and you think things are taking entirely too long…
Hold on to hope.
The cadence of Christ is often unlike your own pace, but God is still at work, always at work, in your life.
Jackie M. Johnson is an author and freelance writer in Colorado. Her hope-filled and encouraging books include "Power Prayers for Women," "When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton Is Empty" and "Powerful Prayers for Challenging Times." Jackie also writes the Living Single blog on Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk website.