Hope or optimism?

By Dave Henning / December 9, 2012

In Chapter 17 (“Hope”) of Where is God When It Hurts?, author Phillip Yancey discusses 6 aspects of hope while also contrasting hope with optimism.  He begins the chapter by quoting Alexander Solzhenitsyn: “All the downtrodden can do is go on hoping.  After every disappointment they must find fresh reason to hope.”  The following concepts characterize such hope:

1.  Hope is believing that something good lies ahead.

2.  Hope is not equivalent to or synonymous with optimism.  Optimism and wishful thinking imply a denial of reality.

3.  Hope resembles courage more than cheerfulness.  Hope involves a leap of faith, as St. Paul writes: “. . . hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what he already has?  But if we hope for what we do not have, we wait for it patiently.”- Romans 8:24-25

4.  Hope saves us from the pessimistic belief that we live in a chaotic world with no final meaning.

5.  True hope is honest.  It allows us to believe that even though the worst has happened, we can pick ourselves us and press on.


6.  We have the final hope of the resurrection!


About the author

Dave Henning

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