The journey was long, arduous, around many bends, through streams, and up many mountains. Yet, their spirits remained high. A benefactor ensured they had all they needed to complete the journey, and his promise that they would make it too their long awaited and most desired destination was surer than money in the bank.
The Christian can use the word “hope” in a special way. Christians do not hope as the rest of the world hopes. The world often uses the word “hope” for something one would like to see happen but can never be sure it will. The Christian hope is different. It is a sure, certain, unalterable, and everlasting hope. The Bible tells the Christian in Romans 5:2, “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
One day every one of the promises God has made will come to full, unfading, bloom. Since no one can do anything to earn what God has promised, those who trust in his promises can never lose them. He will not force his promises on anyone but will freely give them to those who trust in them. They are a gift in the truest sense, and they come from a God who will never lie or take back what he says. The cross, if nothing else, should assure the Christian of this. Christ’s death, resurrection, and exaltation secured forever everything God promises those who trust in his Son.
The community of hope, the church, looks – or at least ought to look – like people going through an arduous adventure together, but, nevertheless, with a certainty that they will reach the forever shores of heaven. This changes their outlook. The difficulties along this journey become more bearable. The joyous occasions become somehow sweeter, because they know they are only a foretaste of that greater, forever joy that awaits them.
Therefore, with empathy and compassion, fellow pilgrims on the way encourage one another. When the journey gets hard – and it will get very hard at times – they whisper to each other, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:3) They do not make light of these temporary trials, but neither do they allow them to drive them to despair. Like the Psalmist they say, “My soul waits for the Lord.” (Psalm 130:6) They come along fellow-pilgrims who are struggling and say, “Just a little longer; we are almost home.”
They have this hope of the glory of God.