More Than Wishful Thinking

Read: 1 Peter 1:1-16

Set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you. (v. 13 NRSV)

I often use the word hope to express wishful thinking. “I hope the weather is nice.” “I hope the Detroit Lions win the Super Bowl.” “I hope there is a parking spot downtown.” In our previous reading, I said hope is not the same as optimism. Wishful thinking isn’t even optimism, just a vague desire that things will go my way, often voiced when I’m anxious. Hope is multidimensional: just as the ancient Greeks had multiple words for love, perhaps there should be multiple words for hope.

Biblical hope is expressed majestically in the opening verses of 1 Peter. After stating his credentials and naming his audience, Peter jumps right into the meat of his letter: “According to his great mercy, he [God] has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (vv. 3-4). This is biblical hope. It comes from the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and was something the apostles were willing to die for.

Biblical hope is far more profound than optimism or wishful thinking. As I was writing this, an old friend called to tell me her mother, one of God’s faithful saints, had died. As sad as this news made me, I also was hope-filled because I knew this dear woman set her hope on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. She won’t be disappointed. —Jeff Munroe

As you pray, ask God to help you distinguish between wishful thinking and biblical hope.

About the Author

Jeff Munroe

Jeff Munroe is the editor of theReformed Journaland, in addition to being the author of the best-selling book Reading Buechner: Exploring the Work of a Master Memoirist, Novelist, Theologian, and Preacher, is also a poet, blogger, and essayist. His work has appeared in Christianity Today, The Christian Century, US Catholic, and The Reformed Journal.

This entry is part 2 of 15 in the series Hopeful, Not Optimistic