New Year 2022 Is There Any Hope?
When I awoke this morning (December 31st) I was thinking about a message to send along with my traditional Japanese New Year’s cards. I wanted to give a message of hope for the coming year as the past couple of years have been traumatic in many ways and as I thought about it the following came to me:
Over time words often change in their nuance or meaning. Wondering if this has happened with the word ‘hope’. I looked up its etymology, or origin and history. If you check the following link, you’ll see what I found. https://www.etymonline.com/word/hope
The word originally meant confidence in God’s promise of grace and mercy, salvation in Jesus. Personally, I think that meant much more than trust in some future event, when God would redeem or rescue the whole world, as is written about in Revelations chapters 19-22.
I believe it was a more personal view, that in ‘my’ present situation, God sees and will have mercy and change things to be for my benefit, as Paul clearly states in Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
If we understand that no matter what circumstances we are in, we can have confidence in God’s outcome, which does not depend on us, as it is by His grace (undeserved mercy). Then we can have peace of mind and be cheerful, looking with hope and strong confidence to the future! Hebrews 6:19 which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.
Looking at a more modern understanding of this word, the meaning has changed to something more like ‘wishful thinking’. Here’s an example:
Question: “Do you think it will rain today?”
Reply, “I hope not”.
What did that reply infer? Yes, I am confident that it won’t rain! Or, more probably, I don’t really know, my wish is that it doesn’t.
I find it revealing that the old definition was based on an understood connection to a God who exists and who cares (tremendously!) about us.
The modern definition is based on? Chance! An undecided outcome that has no concern or care for me, over which I have no control. There’s no connection to anything understood to be concerned about ‘me’.
So, going back to my original morning thought about hope, I’d like to send my prayer to you for a hope filled New Year, and that whatever this next year has in store for us, that you will be at peace, cheerful and full of confidence! Knowing that if you receive God’s love in Christ the following is true for you: Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, so that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:13 And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.