Hope For What We Do Not See


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In all likelihood atheists would call hoping for what we do not see, blind faith. Consequently I’ve been accused more than once of having the equivalent of blind faith because I believe in and hope for heaven.

The apostle Paul took a very different view of hoping for what we do not see when he wrote this to the church in Rome: “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it” (Romans 8:24-25).

When I was a little kid, I hoped for all kinds of things without actually seeing them until the minute they arrived. I hoped for, longed for, anticipated my birthday and Christmas and outings to the mountains and visiting our old malt shop where we could buy real malts and recess and summer. I could legitimately hope for those things because someone I trusted told me they were on the horizon.

I pretty much believed the authorities in my life. So when my dad held my hand when we crossed the street, I didn’t feel the need to research whether or not it was safer to walk in tandem or to run across on my own. When my parents said to look both ways before crossing when I was a little older, I didn’t feel the need to take a count of the number of cars on that street coming from the left and the number from the right. When I was really young and my mom said, “Don’t put that in your mouth,” I didn’t stop to take an analysis of the germs that might be on whatever I was planning to sample.

The fact is, I trusted my parents’ determination of the situation. They were older, wiser, understood the world and the way it works far better than I did. Certainly I hoped that holding my dad’s hand would bring me safely across the street, that looking both ways would keep me from being hit by a car, that by putting down the dirty whatever, something I could put in my mouth would eventually appear.

In the same way, we all accept certain authorities and we listen to them, believe them, trust them, hope for what they say will happen.

The hope of heaven, the hope of salvation, the hope of mercy and forgiveness is no different. We Christians have the most credible source for what we believe—the revelation given us by Omniscience. God who knows all things has given us a peek at Himself and at His plans, and asks us to trust Him for the rest.

The secret as Paul explained, is perseverance. So many Old Testament believers hoped for the coming of the Messiah. But they died before He arrived. Was their hope in vain? Not at all. Because the hope of salvation is a present and a future event. We who put our faith in God have peace with God and we will have peace on earth with our Messiah King on the throne.

So because Christ came, because He paid the price for sin, we who believe in Him have forgiveness of sins, but we also long for and look forward to the day when He will begin His eternal reign.

We hope for what we do not see. We have a credible source for our hope, but if we give up and stop hoping, the question arises—did we actually ever believe? If we had believed, wouldn’t we still believe?

It’s kind of like a marriage. When a bride and groom exchange vows, they undoubtedly believe each other. So when they say something like, “for rich or for poor, in sickness or in health” they hope that, come what may, their spouse will be by their side. They don’t see the reality ahead of time. But the husband or the wife believes the other to be credible.

But what if one spouse turns and runs as soon as something hard happens? Isn’t the first question about the truthfulness of her commitment? Or his? Did he ever really love me?

That’s pretty much where we are with God. We hope for what we do not see, and we keep on hoping, not because we see heaven growing closer, but because our love for God grows. We trusted Him when we came to Him in repentance, and the longer we walk with Him, the more we trust Him. Why? Perseverance on our part. But more importantly, God’s faithfulness. He gives us reason to persevere, just as He gives us reason to hope in the first place.

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Published in: on January 3, 2018 at 5:53 pm  Comments (9)  
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9 Comments

  1. Hi Rebecca, happy new year. This passage you quoted “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it” (Romans 8:24-25).

    This is quite illogical thinking. How can a person hope for something that has never ever happened, that must be “I wish that I will be saved in heaven”? I “hope” that I am alive in the morning because there is a real possibility of that, I hope it rains, I hope is usually for when something possible can and has often happened.

    Hope, is a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. I should therefore consider your hope to be saved as a “hope I die soon” because this is basically what this guy Paul was saying, and he knew nobody could claim he was wrong as he was on the right side of the wager. Death on the other hand you can be sure of, and we have evidence this truly happens.

    The comment. “The secret as Paul explained, is perseverance.” Sure, it is perseverance to wish your life away. How on Earth can you want to believe that?

    I always have wondered how people can want to believe there is a world of eternal and beautiful life after you die. Indoctrination is truly a powerful tool. I discovered some years ago it alters rational and logical thinking more than I have ever thought was possible.

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    • Hey, Steve, happy New Year to you, too. I was beginning to wonder if you had decided to move on. I’m glad you still come by from time to time and feel free to comment.

      I find it interesting that you find the belief in heaven surprising and apparently unpalatable. In contrast, I find the idea of annihilation rather cruel. Who doesn’t want to go on living? Seriously. Ways to go on living have been taken to incredible extremes for precisely that reason. People don’t want to die.

      I’m no different. I don’t know anyone, including any Christian who is happy to face death. The difference is, since death is inevitable, how do we approach it?

      Some people just don’t talk about it, as if that will somehow do away with the possibility.

      Christians have a different take: death isn’t the end. Yes, it’s separation for a time and that’s cause for grief. But we know there’s more to this life journey.

      And it’s not because of indoctrination. It’s because we believe the source of that truth—Jesus Christ Himself.

      The thing is, you either don’t know or have dismissed the fact that resurrection has already happened. So we aren’t believing something that has no evidence. Honestly, Steve, just because you don’t believe the evidence doesn’t mean that I’ve been indoctrinated. If you want to go that direction, I can say the same thing about you and this false belief that there is no God.

      As I said, knowing God exists is like knowing the sun exists—not because I can see the sun, but by it I can see everything else. The reverent awe of God truly is the beginning of knowledge.

      Becky

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      • Hi Becky, yes as you know blogging takes a fair bit of time and finding time is the challenge. I like blogging this fascinating subject especially on sites as interesting as yours and I thank you for the invitation.

        I of course would also like to go on living, however how serious can you get when most religions past and present offer an afterlife and the so-called heaven with fluffy ducks and angels or in the case of Islamic martyrs who believe a heap of virgins are awaiting their decent into heaven? I cannot think of much more that is more unbelievable than this.

        Indoctrination is believing in God. You can only be indoctrinated into an ideology where you follow a set of beliefs, thoughts and ideals without question and compromise. This explains why you unquestionably believe so many unbelievable things. Atheists are free and can believe and think whatever they like, they are the same as you but simply do not recognise or believe that your god or any gods exist.

        This is the default position in life, you are born atheist, you grow and learn about religions and do not believe the religious stories fed to you by a Sunday school preacher and your religious parents so you reject the attempted indoctrination and remain an atheist, just as I am. Sure there may be one or two exceptions where a parent will attempt atheist indoctrination of a child by running down religious people and their beliefs, but I have never heard of it happening apart from a religious activist and most importantly serious atheists condemn the indoctrination process used by churches and parents on their children.

        I am quite aware that the resurrection has already happened as far as Christianity is concerned, but of course I also know the evidence for this is not exactly very good. In fact, for such an event you would have thought the evidence would have been compelling not associated like the rest of the Bible in controversy.

        I find scientific discoveries taking on our natural world as real knowledge, not things I cannot see and unbelievable events that have never been verified on what can only be described as wishing and hoping for faith in a creator to turn into fact without seeing anything.

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      • Steve, you really surprise me. Do you honestly believe atheists are “free”? There is absolutely no room in an atheist’s set of beliefs for anything supernatural. So they are more restricted than any people I know. Hindus, Buddhists, other religions leave room for what they can’t explain, but not Atheists. They simply legislate what they don’t understand, out of existence, come up with some implausible idea called “chance.”

        And indoctrination. I’m shaking my head here because I know you believe this, though I’ve tried to explain to you multiple times. “Indoctrination” does not explain why the Huaroni tribe of Ecuadorian head-hunters became Christians after they killed seven missionaries. It doesn’t explain why a “good Muslim” son became a Christian. Or a young girl raised by hippy parents found Christ. On and on. The Apostle Paul might be the most obvious example. He killed Christians . . . until he became one. So please, abandon the false idea that Christianity comes about because someone is indoctrinated. That simply does not stand up to the facts!! And you, who claim science as your friend, should care about what you can measure and research and discover.

        Seriously, the very idea that Christians don’t ask questions is ludicrous. I just spent time this afternoon researching info regarding a question about the Bible which another commenter asked on a different site. This shows a lack of knowledge about Christians, Steve, and I would think you would have had enough interaction with various Christians to know better.

        As far as the resurrection of Jesus is concerned, the problem is that you don’t believe the evidence, not that there is no evidence. Four different writers gave the account, in which they included various individuals and groups having personal encounters with Him. One group was as large as 500 people. To squelch the growing movement, all the Jews or Romans had to do was present the body and say, Stop all this silliness. But they couldn’t. Because there was no body to present.

        So, Steve, it’s not for lack of evidence. It’s rather a refusal to believe the evidence that is staring you in the face. Which brings us back to my first point that atheists are not free to believe since they have ruled out God before hand.

        Becky

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        • You commented. “There is absolutely no room in an atheist’s set of beliefs for anything supernatural.”

          Atheists are free to investigate what has no tangible evidence and there is no rules to say an atheist cannot believe in spirituality or in little green men. I may not understand Christians as you say Becky, however your grasp of atheism is not good either.

          Indoctrination is real. The Huaroni tribe you mention were just fed up being pestered by missionaries they thought if you can’t beat them, join them. Seriously, this is no different to the early missionaries who went to undeveloped countries such as many African countries and Japan where quite a few missionaries I believe were despatched for their troubles.

          Humans have an inherent disposition to believe in spiritual and superstitious characters that stems back to our earliest ancestors. It is scientifically explainable and is a far more logical explanation than your suggestion that God must have stepped in. Individuals who want to be involved with religion due to one reason or another are self-induced, just as my father was, and they get to a point of no return and that is termed as indoctrination. Indoctrination is often directed toward the vulnerable, such as children, the elderly or sick.

          I might add to your comments about conversion, that good Christians have also converted to Islam or become atheists and people have often become religious out of the blue due to what has been going on inside their heads. Apostle Paul on the other hand is not verified outside of the Bible and there are books attributed to him that some scholars doubt he is the author of.

          Your statement. “So please, abandon the false idea that Christianity comes about because someone is indoctrinated. That simply does not stand up to the facts!! And you, who claim science as your friend, should care about what you can measure and research and discover.”

          Becky, sorry but science does recognise indoctrination as a fact.
          The word “Indoctrination”- as termed by Dictionary.com. The act of indoctrinating, or teaching or inculcating a doctrine, principle, or ideology, especially one with a specific point of view: religious indoctrination.

          It is very real, and many ex-Christians will tell you how they de- converted, the psychological pain they had to suffer and the treatment from so called loving Christian friends.

          You said. “So, Steve, it’s not for lack of evidence. It’s rather a refusal to believe the evidence that is staring you in the face.”

          The Bible is far from an accurate historical book. It is a story that is both romantic and bloody, it was written by doubtful ancient persons and butchered throughout the centuries. It supports creation, talking snakes, Adam and Eve, resurrection of dead people etc, and you expect everyone to take this book seriously? Seriously?

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        • Steve, I didn’t say there was a “law.” but can’t you admit the obvious? How is someone who tags himself “not a believer in god’ going to accommodate a belief in the supernatural? Claiming there is “no evidence” for god, is he then going to turn around and say, but I’ll take the evidence for miracles and angels and demons. No! You have to find some other answer, so your thinking is seriously limited. Not Free at all.

          So now you know the hearts and minds of a group of indigenous people in Ecuador? Steve, your suppositions about the Huaroni reinforce the point I made above. You have only one note to play: no god, therefore they must have just been worn down by so much missionary activity. No, no, no. You are demonstrating your lack of knowledge and how very limited (not free) the thinking of an atheist must be.

          That being said, of course indoctrination is real, but because some people—Communists, cults, false religions—employ indoctrination, you are not free therefore to jump to a false belief about Christianity. The conclusion that Christians are only believers because we’ve been indoctrinated is simply false. I’ve already demonstrated that, but you apparently would rather stick to your false hypothetical assumption than to listen to facts. Again, I thought better of you as a person who seems so tied to evidence.

          But that’s not against the type. I’ve seen too often that those who claim they are objective and rational and factual only believe what their accepted evidence would suggest. It’s the old “my mind’s made up; don’t confuse me with facts” syndrome.

          And yes, Steve, I do expect you or anyone else to give attention to the Bible. Two of your examples, “talking snakes” and “raising dead people” are not issues if you believe in the supernatural. But instead of listening, you say, I’ve never seen those things, so they couldn’t be. End of discussion. Why do you discount the very evidence for the thing that you don’t believe by saying there is no evidence? You ignore it, but it does exist.

          Becky

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          • As I have said Becky a free mind can believe in the supernatural. All religions may think they own the supernatural world as they believe it exists, however it does not have to be exclusively provided to the world by a god or deity. What happens if the supernatural world is dominated by a race of advanced aliens or Zombies rising from their graves? I think these are just as nutty as any claims of gods, however if an atheist would choose to believe this that is their freedom to do so.

            You say, “You are demonstrating your lack of knowledge and how very limited (not free) the thinking of an atheist must be.”

            Very funny, I am sure this is an obvious example of restricted thinking somehow.

            You also said, “of course indoctrination is real, but because some people—Communists, cults, false religions—employ indoctrination, you are not free therefore to jump to a false belief about Christianity.”

            This just highlights your blindness. I understand from this that every non-Christian religion, political ideologies, cults etc. Are all using indoctrination, but Christianity does not.

            From this sort of mind-set are you are writing this in desperate defence of your faith, to make yourself feel better, you are ignorant of what indoctrination actually is, or you are just using an apologetic type of lie?
            The definition of indoctrination in most English dictionaries highlight religions. Just type it into Google search and you get this.

            Indoctrination, noun, the process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically. “I would never subject children to religious indoctrination” teaching; instruction. “methods that were approved for indoctrination in divinity”

            You like claiming I do not listen to facts and I assume you pride yourself on honesty, well then, do not follow this up with more of the same rhetoric and read up on indoctrination instead of just closing your eyes and do the Christian thing and not be too proud to claim you were wrong.

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  2. I like the examples you gave relating to hope. Though some people might not connect rational or logical thinking with hope, which can’t be seen, I believe that hope is very logical. I don’t see how our expanding universe can continue to grow without it because hope is the force that reaches out in faith to bring light into the darkness. The opposite of hope is despair, which kills. I might also add for those who question the reason we need hope is that Biblical salvation is about more than going to heaven when you die. It’s about experiencing God’s kingdom of love, joy and peace here on earth as well – as in the Lord’s prayer “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

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  3. I’ve been hoping that one day i’ll find an woman to make my wife. I sign up at different dating sites and looked around in different churches but it’s been years. But haven’t given up, because God isn’t a God that sleeps. God is Good and just at the right time, he steps in and blesses his people with everything they need.

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