When Hope Is Renewed

We use the word "hope" a lot in our everyday conversations, but according to Webster's Dictionary, we use it incorrectly.  When we use the word "hope", we use it in the context of "wish for, hope so, maybe so, but probably not."  It's meant to convey a heartfelt wish, but nothing more.  But I think I like Webster's definitions better.

Hope:  (1) to wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment; (2) to have confidence; (3) to look forward to with confidence; (4) in Christianity, a theological virtue defined as the desire for a future good, difficult but not impossible to attain with God's help.

Isn't that wonderful?  Isn't it empowering to know that a hope is more than a mere wish but rather looking forward to something and expecting it to happen?  Wouldn't we live life differently if we accepted that definition of hope rather than the one we so often tout?  Wouldn't there be a spring in your step and a smile on your face?

Why don't we ask the couple on the Emmaus Road?  If anyone could tell us about hope lost and reborn, it is they.

And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.  And they talked together of all these things which had happened.  And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.  But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.  And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?  And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?  And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:  And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.  But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.  Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;  And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.  And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.  Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.  And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.  But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.  And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.- Luke 24:13-31

We can visualize the discouragement of these two weary travelers.  Everything they believed in, everything they had hoped for was gone.  They were distraught beyond words.  They struggled to put one foot in front of the other.  The seven-and-a-half-mile walk home must have been miserable.  But suddenly, they realized that they were no longer walking alone.  As Jesus spoke with them, he uncovered the reason for their despair.  And then, he renewed their hope.  He opened their eyes so that they became aware that the hope they thought they had lost was sitting before them.  And then he was gone again.  Their response?

And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?  And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem - Luke 24: 32-33a

From the wording of the Scriptures, I think it's safe to infer that they ran the seven and half miles back to Jerusalem.  Two travelers who, only moments before, had been too discouraged and weary to go another step now couldn't wait to spread their renewed hope and joy.  You see, the best hope is hope that is shared with others.

As Christians, we have a hope.  We have much to look forward to.  We have much to be confident about.  So who are we telling?  We need to spread the word that no matter how dark the night may seem or how difficult the trial may be, as long as Jesus lives, there is hope.

Jesus will live forever, so there will always be hope.  Hold fast to God's promises today and share the light of His love.