Hope is a Verb
Hope can be seen as an attitude, or a verb. I don't know about you, but I tend to think life is lived in verbs. My favourite definition of the verb hope is to "cherish a desire with anticipation". There are 3 important words here, let's take a look at each of them. Cherish means to keep something in your mind. To hold it dear, and care for it.
Desire is to strongly wish for or want something.
Anticipation is to expect something to happen, it's literally the period of time before the thing happens. One definition is to "pay a debt before it's due". Don't you love that?
So if we can rephrase our definition, we might say Hope means to keep in your mind what you want to happen, and be confident that it will happen. Believe that your debt will be paid before it is due.
One of the best examples of hope is a child waiting for Christmas. Either you are young enough to remember it yourself, or you have little ones in your life who live it out now. That my friend, is a hope that is cherishing a desire with anticipation. I have at least one toddler in my life who lives this out. All year round, counting down to Christmas. "How many weeks?" they ask (every week). The idea of it never leaves their mind, it's always there, being cherished. They desire their Christmas experience deeply and they anticipate it relentlessly. They are confident that what they are waiting for will come to be, and that it will be greater than they can even imagine.
As an adult, most seasons of hoping last longer than we would like them to. Can I get an amen? In that season of anticipation, hope can slip. Bit by bit, piece by piece, the enemy will strip it away until you are left heartsick. Our enemy defers our hope. He wears us down with small lies and big ones. Lies that we are foolish for holding this hope. Foolish for cherishing, desiring and anticipating. One of the great Proverbs (13:12) tells us that hope deferred makes the heart sick. Are you heartsick today? Chances are either you are, or someone near you is. Here's the good news: you don't have to obtain what you've been hoping for, you just need your hope back.
The word doesn't say "when what you hope for is deferred your heart becomes sick" it says "hope deferred makes the heart sick"! Do you hear the difference? It is not the unfulfilled hope that makes us sick, it's the loss of hope itself. Postpone your hope, defer it for a day or two, or more, and you will become sick.
Beloved, you are called to a reckless, active, relentless hope. Hope in the face of fear. Hope in the face of pain. Hope in the face of loss. Whatever is thrown at you, hold onto hope.
Sometimes we need to evaluate what we are hoping for. We all desire things that are not good for us, and if we feed those desires they become hopes. Are the things you are hoping for the same as what God hopes for you? Your Father loves you more than you could possibly know, and with that love comes wisdom. He is a good Father. He's not going to give you bad gifts, even if you want them and hope for them.
Ask Him to filter your hopes, and bring them into line with His. If you've been hoping to win the lottery, He might shift that to a hope to see Him provide for all your needs. If you've been hoping for your spouse and/or kids to become better people, He might give you hope for more grace and strength to be a better wife or mother. If you've been hoping for a promotion or greater fame, He might change that to a hope for influencing your community with the power of God.
Above all, hold onto hope.