“Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” Isaiah 49:23
How many times a day do you use the word hope? “I hope it doesn’t rain today” or “I hope we get out of work early”? Webster’s Dictionary defines hope as “to want something to happen or be true”. Of course, there are tons of things we want to happen or want to be true, but did you know the Bible has a different definition of hope?
The word most often used for hope in the Bible is the word elpis, which means expectation, trust, and confidence (Strong’s Concordance). Theologian John Piper says it well: “Biblical hope is a confident expectation and desire for something good in the future. Biblical hope not only desires something good for the future — it expects it to happen. And it not only expects it to happen — it is confident that it will happen. There is a moral certainty that the good we expect and desire will be done.”
When it comes to hoping in God, we have more than flimsy want and desire; we have a confident expectation and trust. I love dwelling on that idea as I read Isaiah 49:23.
While Isaiah is filled with warnings towards Israel and prophecies for what trouble will come to Israel as they choose to follow their own ways and worship other gods, it is also filled with words of a God who is unrelenting in His love for His people. Over and over again the Israelites failed God, choosing sin and idol worship instead of His ways. Yet He continues to pursue them, love them, and rescue them, and leaves them promises like in this passage. God tells the Israelites that He will prove Himself to them and that those who hope in Him will not be disappointed.
Another translation says it beautifully: “They shall not be ashamed that wait for me; their hopes and expectations shall not be disappointed, but abundantly satisfied.”
This is the good news for us: while we will have to endure trouble in this life, and while our sin also has consequences for our situations, we have a hope that the world doesn’t have. We do not have to rely on only ourselves to fix the brokenness around us. We have a God who created us and loves us enough to redeem and restore everything, whether in this life or in Heaven. So when trouble comes our way (because it will), we will not be disappointed.
We have a good God on our side who we can trust with confidence, expecting Him to come through in our lives, not because of anything we did, but just because He loves us.