As a group, we were not very impressed with the concept of “Hope” as it is presented in the book, Believe. We spent considerable time discussing “Hope” vs “Faith” vs “Belief”. Interestingly, the group divided along gender lines as to the value of “Hope”. The men place a lot more confidence in “Faith” and “Belief” than they do in “Hope”. The women really employ the term, “Hope”, especially when it is connected with “Faith” or “Belief”. One good point Randy made in his video is that “Hope” is useful when we need to “Cope” with something. One member gave a good example when she mentioned that she knows and loves a certain person who is not a Christian. She not only prays for him, but she “Hopes” that he will find Christ before he dies. The concept of “Hope” helps her “Cope” with this situation. We all agreed that this is an excellent example. “Hope” helps us “Cope”, but “Hope” without “Faith” and “Belief” is empty.
We considered sources of false hope today, including the lottery! While middle class folks rarely endanger their family’s security, too many spend $ on lottery tickets that could have better been used on basic needs. Too many youth are placing unrealistic hopes on becoming a college, then NBA star, instead of hitting the books and developing work, study and devotional habits that can help bring to bear a better future.
As pastor, David shared how he has seen a definite difference in how believers, and non-believers grieve. (I Thessalonians 4:13-14) Losing a loved one to death still hurts believers. But while our eyes are moist, they may also shine with our eternal Hope!We considered the old Negro spirituals, and how in spite of the terrible injustices slaves suffered, they were buoyed by songs of “golden bells” and glory land.
Christians know the way things are now NOT the way they’ll always be!
We had a lot of discussion about the word hope and how when we say we have hope, in our language there is a connotation or doubt the goes with it. After much discussion we decided that “hope” is a noun speaking of our vision of heaven and what awaits us there. We decided that faith and hope walk side by side and that one can not exist without the other. We talked of Paul’s view of life in the book of Hebrews as a pilgrimage to a heavenly homeland. That, as believers, we are resident aliens who are in this world but not of this world. We also talked of how much it helps to have people around us that share in the same hope, so that when we stumble, they are there to help us up.
Our group shared C.S. Lewis’ vision of hope from Mere Christianity. We talked about atheists’ view of Christianity in relationship to hope and how it compares to our eternal hope because the promise we have of our salvation through Jesus Christ. We also talked about we can’t imagine our lives without hope and wonder what people do in critical life situations who don’t have hope. Where do they turn? One member said that hope “centers” her and gives her life purpose. We all agreed that if we didn’t have the hope of salvation through Jesus Christ our life would be purposeless. We believe that hope isn’t something like magic fairy dust but very real and something we have to hold onto in our walk as Christians.