Jeremiah 28:1-17;Psalm 119:29, 43, 79-80, 95, 102; Matthew 14:22-36
Saint John Vianney, Priest
Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, and you have raised false confidence in this people. (Jeremiah 28:15)
I hope; therefore I am. This little twist on a famous quotation gets to the heart of what hope is. While it stands alongside two other core virtues of the Christian life—faith and love—hope rarely enjoys the limelight. But hope is just as essential to a full life as the other two!
So what is hope? Put simply, hope is confidence that a brighter day is coming, because God said so. Hope is the grace to lift our eyes and our hearts to heaven, where we find the energy and motivation to keep moving forward.
Like faith and love, hope can start small in our hearts. Think of a whisper or a mustard seed of hope. But even in small doses, it’s potent. Just a bit of hope can galvanize us through a difficult season. It can remind us that God is working all things together for our good. It can help us see the great potential in small beginnings.
It’s no wonder, then, that false hope is so distasteful. And in today’s reading from Jeremiah, the Israelites had gulped a mouthful of it. A man named Hananiah gave them empty promises concerning an early resolution in their struggle against Babylon. Ultimately, this could have caused a lot more damage if God hadn’t intervened. He wanted to give his people real hope that was anchored in the substance of his promises and his plan for them. So he did! For the next four chapters, Jeremiah recorded page after page of prophecies that spoke of exile and return, of hardship followed by triumph.
What about you? Maybe you find yourself losing hope. Maybe the odds seem stacked against your dreams for your life or your family. You have your reasons. But whatever they are, God wants to intervene. He wants to give you a hope that’s different, that’s anchored in eternal truth. A hope that doesn’t waver with circumstances or dwindle with time. So take the time today to read Jeremiah 29–32. God didn’t give up on the Israelites—and he certainly won’t give up on you! Let his gift of hope sink deeply into your heart.
“Father, I place my hope in you.”~WAU