“So our hope is in the Lord. He is our help, our shield to protect us.” Psalm 33 v 20
The Christian understanding of hope is deeper than our everyday use of the word. We may say “I hope that it will not rain for the school picnic.” Christian hope is grounded in the character of God. Often, in the Psalms, the writer says to God: ‘My hope is in you’. It is a hope rooted in the love and faithfulness of God. Hope is not wishful thinking but a firm assurance that God can be relied upon. Hope generates energy and sustains people through difficult times. Where hope is lost there is despair and disintegration. True hope is much more than a general idea that things will get better. Even when experiencing exile, persecution, doubt or darkness, the Biblical writers trust in God’s ‘unfailing love’ and know that he will be true to his covenant promises. That is the basis of their hope. Hope is not always spontaneous or easy. As well as trusting God, we have to develop qualities of steadfastness in our own character. Paul says: “We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character and character, hope.” Romans 5 v 3-4. Hope is coupled with faith and love as one of the three most enduring gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 13 v 13). At All Saints we encourage our children to show hope by setting themselves a target to get better at something they find difficult and by not getting too down when something bad or difficult happens.