Thought for the month – June 2014

“England have no hope”

Depending on when you’re reading this during June 2014, England will either have made it gloriously to the quarter finals, or will have crashed out embarrassingly at the group stage of the World Cup in Brazil. Millions of people will be supporting their national teams hoping that they’ll be victorious. How much hope can we have in England being triumphant? Goldman Sachs, an investment bank, has calculated the probability of winning the tournament and concluded that “England have no hope in World Cup”. That’s a bit sad really, that even before the team has flown to Brazil no one seriously thinks they’re going to win. But even though their chances are slim, we’ll still be desperately willing them to succeed – against all hope.

A confident hope

When the Bible talks about “hope”, it’s not in the sense of desperately willing something to happen, but in the sense of a sure conviction and confidence about what will happen. Hebrews 11:1 says

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Notice that we can have an assurance of the things we hope for, and a conviction about the things we can’t see. This isn’t the language of some vague hopefulness; these are strong words about how faith works. Being a follower of Jesus means that we can have a strong hope and confidence about many things; peace with God (Romans 5:1), the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7), joy (Romans 15:13), access to God (Ephesians 2:18) and eternal life (1 John 5:11). These are all things which cannot be seen, but about which we can have confidence because of the one who makes them possible – Jesus Christ.

The God of hope

So let’s hope that England perform well (even though we suspect that’s pretty unlikely), and let’s live with a bold confidence about those things which God has promised.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

(Young Christians Camp Leader)