"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." (Romans 15:4, NIV)
There are two words in that one scripture alone, that are very important to the meaning of 'hope'. The endurance pushes us to continue the race that was started the minute we said yes to Jesus. Keep your eye on the prize. Through thick and thin, you keep pushing through the tough times--why? Because you have hope something better is coming. The other word, encouragement, helps us get to hope. How? Have you ever encouraged someone to keep pursuing something that person has a passion for--and then see them accomplish it--again because they pushed through the yuckiness and saw hope meet them. God meets us at hope. Because our lives without God would be hopeless. Unfortunately, unbelievers do not have an eternal hope. They die and then they are judged for not accepting Jesus as their Savior. It is very saddening.
Sometimes it takes us more than once to see what we can't see at the time---hope. I instantly had hope in January of 1993 when I got saved. But, when I was first hospitalized with depression and OCD, I was desperate for hope....absolutely desperate....for God to tell me what was happening to me. I had my Bible with me, and at first I could not manage to do anything but ask, "Why?" My lack of education about my mental disorder set me on a path of hopelessness. I remember the relief I felt when a social worker came to me with a picture and caption that so clearly described my symptoms to a tee. I was so relieved to hear I had clinical depression and OCD. I just wanted to hear a name for it. Then, I could start learning about it from the professionals who were put in my path at an intense point of my life. God showed me He was my only hope in that situation of learning about myself. I swallowed the word, 'hope' completely and wanted to share it with other hurting people. It is SO beyond powerful. Lives are won and lost over it. Most people who harm themselves or commit suicide lose hope, listen to lies and then end it all. God's hope can reach down inside our yuck, and pluck it out. It can happen in an instant!
Do you have hope you can impart to someone else? Then share it. It's not meant to be covered up because it is so powerful. When I was little I would tell my mother that I needed something to look forward to--something to be excited about that was coming up. She told me to look at the little things (and think on these things) like flowers in the field being blown back and forth by the wind. I never forgot that because it did create a sense of hope for something good in my mind...and to appreciate things we take for granted.
"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)
"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." (1 Peter 3:15)