Author Maya Angelou said, “Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Invite one to stay.” Today, we celebrate the gift of hope, and biblical hope is linked to confidence. This hope is more than wishful thinking. When we hope our favorite team wins, we are expressing a wish that the odds will tilt in their favor. But biblical hope is marked by confident expectation based on the promises given to us by God. This hope casts out fear (see 1 John 4:18).
Peter returns our attention to the subject of suffering. Christian hope does not exist in an atmosphere of perfection. Rather, hope walks us through the difficult circumstances of life. Our passage today consoles believers who are enduring trials. “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous” (v. 12). God hears our prayers and knows His children. This hope affects our behavior. Notice the series of responses. We are to watch the way we speak (v. 10). We are to avoid evil and choose what is good. We are to be known as those who pursue peace (v. 11).
As we follow God’s commands, our relationship with Him changes the ways we respond to hardship as well as our adversaries. We are not to follow what most feel is a natural instinct to “repay evil with evil or insult with insult” (v. 9). The hope we have in God changes the way we live today.
Hope gives us confidence in our heavenly future, therefore realigning our hearts and minds from earth to heaven. Knowing we have a certain destination beyond this world lessens the impact and our fear of temporary trials and threats. We know that our purpose and God’s plan for us extend beyond this physical life. Our hope is in the Lord!
Hope and fear both have exactly four letters. Yet these small words have powerful consequences in our lives. Is your life characterized more by hope or by fear? Today, ask God to give you His hope, a confidence in His care and in your future. May it change the way you live today and set you free from fear.