On Monday, I wrote about two of four approaches to hope that Walter Henrichsen mentions in his book A Layman’s Guide to Applying the Bible.
Those two approaches were no hope and misplaced hope.
Today I want to tackle the third approach to hope that Henrichsen describes…ill-defined hope.
Our hope is ill-defined if we can’t immediately describe it with clarity.
It is usually pushed out of consciousness until we experience a personal tragedy or perceived threat.
It is hope used for security…but not as a purpose for living.
A good example of ill-defined hope is the response of some Americans to the attack on the United States on September 11, 2001. USA Today ran a story in January of 2002 stating that church attendance increased by 25% shortly after the attack, but by the end of 2001, church attendance had returned to pre- 9/11 levels.
Due to the national tragedy, many people moved from complacency to seek security in some vague faith. They began attending church for a short period of time. But because that faith was not based on truth or on a real relationship with Jesus Christ, their attendance began to fall as their need for security decreased.
Their hope remained ill-defined and did not translate into a real living faith.
Ill-defined hope also occurs when you think you are hoping in something, but reality is quite different.
As Christian physicians, we may believe and even proclaim that our hope is in Jesus Christ, while we are living a different reality of placing our hope in the financial and personal security that our profession provides.
The test for where our true hope lies comes in the inevitable painful events that we encounter in this life.
Trial and suffering are the crucible where we are tested.
Trial and suffering will help us move from an ill-defined hope to a well-defined hope.
And a well-defined hope brings clarity to our purpose in life.
How well-defined is your hope?
Prayer: Lord help me move from an ill-defined hope to a hope fully based on You.