Hope is one of those equivocal words; it has more than one meaning.  One hopes that it doesn’t rain or that Mom doesn’t fix hamburger helper again or that one’s lottery ticket will bring in the jackpot.  None of these events are guaranteed or within one’s control.

But Christian hope is different and we need to be mindful of using that word around non-Christians.  Most people are likely to think of the weak, wishful thinking version of the word.  The Greek word for hope is ‘elpis’ and it carries with it the sense of assurance, something solidly guaranteed. You can take Christian hope to the bank.

So what is our assurance, our elpis?  Paul mentions in his letter to the Colossians that because of their hope, they were well-known for their unordinary and supernatural faith & love that was being talked about by many.  Colossians 1: 15 commends their deeds and praises them for “ – the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you”.  It is this hope that has motivated them to unselfishly reach out to others and share their material & spiritual resources.

My husband and I were thinking about how we would talk or act if we had a rich uncle who had promised us an inheritance.  In our scenario, this uncle had even put the large sum of money irrevocably in our names and we had the account # and our signatures were properly recorded at the bank.  We just couldn’t use the funds until he died.  But the inheritance was a fact, an asset waiting for us, an accounts receivable line entry.  We wouldn’t refer to this sure money as the inheritance that we ‘hope’ we get, but the inheritance that we ‘know’ we will get. For it would just be a matter of time.

Our treasure in heaven is even MORE valuable and MORE assured than our hypothetical uncle’s inheritance.  Nothing will change our status; no circumstance such as theft, or earthquake or bank error or computer failure will rob us of what is laid up for us.  What awaits us is a life of favor in the presence of Jesus where we will do what we like best: make much of God.  I know that it is hard to imagine what that will be like, but I am assured by God’s word that it is what we are made to do best.

So how should we act?  All I know is that if I REALLY believe what Jesus has said and what Paul expands upon, then I will be a lot more joyful and peaceful, no matter present circumstances.  As Paul asserts in Romans 8: 38-29, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.  Now I call that hope worth having!