Sometimes Christians are afraid to hope. Hope looks to the future and imagines an eventual joy and blessing that is not realized right now. Hope looks at what it cannot see. Hope is frightening in world that idolizes immediate pleasures and doubts optimistic predictions.
So, sometimes Christian are afraid to hope. Better to believe the worst and then be surprised. Better to doubt and then find unexpected joy. Of course this assumes that doubt has no effect on us. But doubt is like cyanide for the soul. That innocent looking pill wreaks havoc and renders us incapable of joy. In taking the doubt we can see, rather than the hope we cannot see, we destroy our capacity to experience joy. Doubt is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Doubt always leads to death.
Hope is frightening, and uncertain in the present, because we wonder if we are placing our hope in the right place, dreaming the right dream. Since we can’t see the dream right now, we wonder if we are wrong, we wonder if a death we can see right now is better than death by disappointed hope later on.
But, hope is like exercise, it gradually expands our spiritual muscles and our spiritual lung capacity and renders us more able to experience joy than we would be otherwise. We don’t see the results right now and sometimes the exercise of hope is even painful at present. But then, when we see what we have trained our eyes to hope for, when we encounter what we have conditioned our soul to desire, then all of the effort at hoping will render us able to enjoy with greater fullness than if we had never hoped at all. We cannot eliminate the risky feeling that accompanies hope. But we can celebrate its effect on us, and fear and loathe the effect of doubt. We can choose, by God’s grace, to be afraid not to hope and therefore cast ourselves toward a dream that requires a lifetime of hope before we are prepared to enjoy it fully.
So, let us hope until we see. Indeed let us hope so that we can see, when the time for seeing is upon us.
They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. Revelation 22:4-5 ESV