This devotion appears in the 2022 Buckner Advent Guide, containing devotions and family activities to help you celebrate the Advent season. Get your free digital copy of the Advent Guide delivered instantly to your email today.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1
There is no debate if one thinks one’s desires will come true, it creates hope. This hope will birth perseverance to move forward. Yet, no hope is needed if perfection is experienced in the present. It’s the imperfections and limitations of the past and current circumstances that makes us seek out hope. And it is this realization that makes us ponder on the quality of the hope we have.
What makes us think this desire we hope for is what is best for us? Human hope could become nothing more than a placebo for perseverance to seek something that may result in an unhealthy circumstance in need for further hope - and so goes the cycle.
But the Christian worldview escapes this fatalistic hope. In the New Testament, the word hope appears for the first time in Matthew 12:21: “and in His name, the Gentiles will hope,” using the word elpis.
The verb ‘elpis,’ which is elpizo, means trust. Biblical hope is also forward looking. The difference is the point of reference is not in oneself (knowledge and skills) or circumstances (nature or technology), but in God’s capacity to fulfill his promises. A God that historically has proven to be all loving, all knowledgeable and all powerful through the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection. He is a God we can relate to and continue to experience his love, knowledge and power every day, independent of difficult and painful circumstances.
The Christian hope escapes secular hope because the source is perfect: without limitation or imperfection. It’s not only conceptual (transcendence), but also personal (imminent).
As Christians, we don’t seek our desires but God’s. As Christians, we trust in God that through imperfections and limitations, he is working and moving toward a final perfect desire and circumstance. Hope for Christians is the certainty of the current experience and future anticipation (already not yet) of relational perfection (holiness) which gives us the love, joy, peace and patience in the present to persevere.
Margareth Fanini Aviles is the senior vice president, group manager at Comerica Bank in Dallas, Texas. She is also a member of the Buckner International board of trustees. Margareth has been married to her husband Jeronimo for 24 years and they have a 12-year-old daughter, Nataly.