“To hope is more than just to wish for something. It is to yearn for and to dream something so much that we really believe it can be…it is to have a strong, clear vision of the future.”–Joyce Rupp
As a fitness instructor, I often hear about “wishes”…
“I wish my core was stronger, tummy was flatter, arms were more toned, glutes were…” well, you get the point. These types of “wishes” are not easily fulfilled. Why? Is it because the exercise doesn’t work? No. It is because these types of wishes have no clear vision. What does it mean to be stronger? How will you know when you are toned enough? If the goal is to be more (or less) than you already are, then the goal can never be reached. It is just a mirage, an illusion.
Others come into the gym with HOPE. They are hoping that exercise will help their bodies do things is not doing now:
“I hope to build strength in my core to help my low back pain.”
“I hope to increase my hip flexibility to help with my running.”
“I hope to have enough endurance/energy to play with my children, go on a hike with friends, complete a triathlon.”
Unlike the “wishers”, those that are coming to class with HOPE, have set their minds on a goal, a clear vision for what they want to happen with their bodies. They will be able to measure their success by their ability to do the thing they are HOPING to do. The wishers, on the other hand, may gain strength and toning, but not be content because, after all…in this culture of comparison in which we live, there is always MORE to be done, more strength, more tone, flatter tummies, tighter…well, you get the point!
Joyce Rupp discusses the difference between wishing and hoping. Hoping is a wish with action, a dream with a purpose. Hope requires more than just wanting for something. It yearns. The Free Dictionary says to yearn means, “to set one’s heart on something.” We set our hearts and minds on a goal and this initial action of the heart leads to action in the body.
The same is true of the HOPE we have for our lives. Instead of being stuck in the discontent of wishing for things to be different: in our homes, marriages, family, faith, we can be content in the HOPE we have through Christ.
What is the difference?
Well, I can spend time wishing my marriage were stronger, my children were better behaved or my faith was more intense, but these aren’t goals that can be achieved. Just like the “wishers” in the fitness class, I would find out that there is always a stronger marriage to be had, my children (as great as they are) could always behave a little better, and my faith–the more intense it becomes, the more intensity I long to have. Instead, we can have HOPE in God’s Word and the promises He has for our lives, our marriages, our children, and our faith.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
It is with this HOPE that we can build strength, running the race of our faith journey, and be able to do it with energy and endurance…
“for those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
In the HOPE of these promises we can yearn–set our mind on–and in that be content for we know, “You (God) will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3)