“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” — Psalm 39:7
Eugene Peterson, who translated The Message Bible, points out that what a lot of people call “hope” is really something different. It’s wishing, not hoping: and wishing and hoping are not the same thing.
He says, “Wishing is something all of us do. It projects what we want or think we need into the future. Just because we wish for something good or holy we think it qualifies as hope. It does not. Wishing extends our egos into the future; hope grows out of our faith. Hope is oriented toward what God is doing; wishing is oriented toward what we are doing.”
“Hope,” he continues, “means being surprised, because we don’t know what is best for us or how our lives are going to be completed. To cultivate hope is to suppress wishing – to refuse to fantasize about what we want, but live in anticipation of what God is going to do next.”
When Christ came into the world, He was the Messiah people hoped for, but not the one many wished for. If most people had their way, Christ would have been born in a grand palace – a place fit for a king. But God had other plans – plans that included Christ being made low, born in a humble stable.
But isn’t that so much better? We don’t have a Savior who looks down on us from high. He became like us so that He could save us. What a wonderful blessing that Christ fulfilled hope, not a wish!
Thank God that Christ came exactly as He planned – not in splendor but in humility.
Questions for thought
Why do you think Jesus was born and lived much of His life in such humble circumstances?
What does Christ’s humility teach you about putting aside selfish ambition?