“Hopefully” – this word comes up regularly from our favourite sports captains when they review the match. What do they mean? They are full of hope that they will do better next time or win the next game, or win the World Cup or whatever. It’s always about the next time but it’s always uncertain.

“Hope” is also a Bible word, but it has a very different meaning. It’s about a future that is already present to God because He is in the future. Here is an illustration.

My brother is building a model of an ancient sailing ship, the Santa Maria. What guarantee does he have that his model will turn out as it should? He has a picture of it on the box and he has diagrams and instructions for each step. If he follows the instructions, the end result will be just like the picture.

Bible hope is like that. God has already shown us the end result of our faith – Jesus. He is the picture on the box. He has also supplied the instructions for becoming like Jesus – His Word. If we follow the instructions, the end result will be exactly like ‘the picture on the box’. But there is something special about Bible hope that my brother does not have.

He has the pieces and the instructions but it’s up to him alone as to whether his model eventually looks like the real Santa Maria or not. He has no one to help him iron out his mistakes or help him build it to specifications. What if he puts a cannon in the wrong place, or leaves a piece out here or there? His model will be incorrect or incomplete and won’t match the picture. We have the Holy Spirit who interprets God’s word and helps us to obey His instructions.

My brother has a box full of ready-cut pieces. We have a book full of God’s promises. He puts the pieces together with faith and patience. We inherit God’s promises with faith and patience. When he has completed the task, he will have a perfect model of the Santa Maria. When God has finished His task, we will be exact replicas of Jesus with a resurrection body and a perfect spirit just like His.

That’s our hope but it will only be fulfilled if we do our part by working with the Holy Spirit and following the instructions. Our guarantee is that God has promised to complete what He began.

‘. . .Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 1:6)

Luella Campbell

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