The blessing of hope.
Dum spiro spero---one of the Latin phrases on the Great Seal of South Carolina. The seal depicts the victory of South Carolina revolutionary troops over the British navy at Sullivan's Island on June 28, 1776. There are several Latin phrases on the seal but dum spiro spero was adopted as the motto of South Carolina. While I breathe I hope. Our founding father's envisioned us as a people of hope in perpetuity.
Hope is significant biblical theme. From a spiritual perspective personal hope is a gift from God, the faithful Father who created and sustains of all things. In the Christian worldview hope is "...when God has promised that something is going to happen and you put your trust in that promise. Christian hope is a confidence that something will come to pass because God has promised it will come to pass" (John Piper, Desiring God, March 3, 2008). To read the article click here. Hope is not wishful thinking or an expression of our desires. It is grounded in the character of God and is the essence of personal faith---
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11: 1, ESV
The Apostle Paul's letter to the persecuted Christians in Rome connects human suffering with hope . Make note of Paul's words---
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand,
and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our
sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces
character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because
God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given
Romans 5: 2-5, ESV
In the Christian worldview hope isn't a spiritual gift or fruit of the Spirit. Hope is the blessing God gives to his people when they learn the disciplines of endurance that produce Christian character.
Of course, there is cultural hope, an optimistic desire that something will be fulfilled. It is not confident or guaranteed because it is grounded in human thought. People change, circumstances change, and our desires, outlooks, and expectations change with them. This hope is not firm or secure or the product of absolute truth. It is formulated on the whims of human thought, institutions, finances, education, government, social systems, jurisprudence, and other wavering principles.
Biblical hope is portrayed as an anchor, solid and immovable as we face the realities of daily life. The anonymous author of the Epistle to the Hebrews wrote---
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner
sanctuary behind the curtain,where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.
Hebrews 6: 19-20, NIV
So, here we are, isolated by the little known Covid-19 virus. At this point outcomes of the pandemic are debated even among the medical professionals---duration, death tolls, infectious potential, rate of transmission, cures, survival, and more---leaving us all isolated and distanced, question marks punctuating our lives. We are learning the disciplines to stay, wait, continue, and encourage, all learning modes to endurance.
But, God, yes, the power words of Scripture, has given us an anchor. Our hope is sure and certain, an exclamation point in a world of uncertainty, because he is faithful. Once again, the author of Hebrews counseled his readers---
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is
Hebrews 10: 23, ESV
It is the blessing of hope. Let us cling to it.