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The door of hope

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us" (Romans 5:3-5 NIV).

Whether it is in Hebrew or in Greek , hope is a confident expectation of something that we desire (it is also the definition in the Hachette French dictionary); this is also perfectly explained by king David: "Find rest, O my soul in God alone; my hope comes from Him" (Psalm 62:6). In Hebrew (תִּקְוָה, tikvah having given the title to the Israeli national anthem הַתִּקְוָה hope), as in the Greek, the word 'hope' has for its root the verb 'to wait for' or 'to expect that'.

True hope comes from God alone: "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). It is the fruit of our faith in Jesus Christ.

Hope or Illusion

Hope can have several sources, God or man; it is why it ought to be tested. And it is God who will be the instigator of that test:

"For you o God tested us! You refined us like silver… but you brought us to a place of abundance (fullness)" (Psalm 66:10,12).

If hope comes from God, it is strengthened through testing, but if it comes from man we risk being deceived because it doesn’t pass the test. God has poured out His love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, that is why we believe all things work together for our good. In fact, if we know deeply that God loves us, we will not be afraid of the test because through it He will give us strength to endure it and He will also provide a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The test always has a goal, God wants to speak to our hearts:

"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will allure her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and make the valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt" (Hosea 2:14-15).

We can always refuse to come or to spend some time in the desert. But if we believe in God's promises, they will be fulfilled at the way out of the desert; in due course, God will give joy back to us (the vine produces wine that gladdens the heart of men according to Psalm 104:15) and will transform the valley of Achor into a door of hope [פתח תִּקְוָה, Petach Tikvah] (the valley of Achor is the valley of torment and affliction, it was there that Acan was stoned because of his disobedience).

Yes God wants to draw us into the desert to speak to our hearts so that we trust in Him alone. He wants us to have only one God, but He also wants to open to us a new door of hope: that which is born of an intimate relationship with Him.

Hope, a cord and an anchor

The Hebrew word tikvah means hope but also cord as in the word of Joshua:

"Unless when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord [תִּקְוָה, tikvah] in the window through you let us down and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family to your house" (Joshua 2:18).

This scarlet cord was for Rahab and her family the hope of salvation during the taking of Jericho.

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure; it enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become high priest forever in the order of Melchizedec" (Hebrews 6:19-20).

The author of the letter to the Hebrews understood that true hope was like a solid anchor for our soul; this hope is found in the Most Holy Place where we have access through Jesus Christ.

Because their brother Lazarus was dead, Martha and Mary had no immediate hope although they believed in the resurrection of the last day: "Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died" (John 11:21). Jesus said to them: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies" (John 11:25).

Jesus is the one who nurtures our hope just as the light nurtures plants: "The man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this worlds light" (John 11:9). Hope is a means of reaching the goal of God, we are not able to make it for ourselves, but we receive it through Jesus Christ.

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