There are certain experiences in life we look forward to with eager anticipation: getting a driver’s license, being able to vote, graduating college, landing a first job, perhaps getting married and having children, achieving certain career goals, and maybe even retirement. In all of these, there is the built-in excitement of hoping for what we have not yet seen or experienced. However, once these milestones have been reached and the hardships of life have returned to swallow our focus and energy, life can seem pretty mundane.
There is something right about feeling the dullness that inevitably follows these experiences; they cannot compare to the solid joys and lasting treasure that come with hoping in God and the glorious future He promises to all His children. In the pattern of hoping for what we do not yet see, we are met with the reality that nothing in this world can provide true and lasting satisfaction.
“Hope that is seen,” wrote the apostle Paul, “is not hope.” By contrast, “If we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:24–25). This is the essence of the promises of the gospel in Scripture. We are meant to hope for what we do not see and have not yet fully experienced.
Isaiah might be the most hope-filled of the Old Testament prophets. When he finally comes to the turning point of his prophetic message in chapter 40, he sets out the glorious resurrection hope that believers eagerly anticipate as we wait for Christ’s return:
“They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
In the moment, we may struggle to understand how we will come to attain these promises, but we are encouraged to pursue them by faith. Jesus has secured an everlasting joy, an inheritance of hope for His people through His death and resurrection. Though we do not now see all that He has for us, we wait for it with patience. This is the essence of hope—it works in us even when we do not see precisely how things will work out. It is sure and certain. Because of the saving work of Jesus Christ crucified and risen, there are no uncertain promises of God—though they remain unseen. When we long for these promises to come true, we will not be disappointed.
Written by Nick Batzig