Hopeful Expectation

“What does your faith have to do with how you approach your day-to-day tasks at work?”

This question was posed to a guest speaker in our Sunday School class about the integration of faith and work recently.

“I have more hope for people than I might otherwise,” he replied. “My organization works with people who are in complicated, difficult situations. Every morning I get myself into the right frame of mind for going to work. Because of what I believe, I have real hope that the lives of these people can get better.”

This moment was a highlight for me because if I am really honest, I too often let discouragement crowd-out hope for what is possible in other people.

“I have more hope for people than I might otherwise.” What perfect words for the Advent season. Are you free to approach other people with a sense of hopeful expectation?

Romans 5 says that hope—even in the midst of dark situations—won’t disappoint. I don’t think this means that Christians are immune from feeling disappointed by rotten situations or even by difficult people. Disappointment is a real, human response when longing is unfulfilled.

Christian hope, however, isn’t itself disappointing. Why? Because Christians don’t hope people will muster-up the power to change themselves or for situations to resolve themselves. Christians hope that God will do something to bring about good in the lives of people. Christians hope God will bring about good in seemingly hopeless situations. That hope is more than longing or wishing. It is an expectation of what God will do based on the experience of what God has already done in Jesus.

At Christmas we focus on who Jesus is. He healed sick people. He proclaimed God’s unconditional love. He showed how to live an authentic, free, full life. He gave his life as a sacrifice for others. Because of who he is, I am free to expect God to accomplish good in the lives of people around me.

Now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. (Hebrews 7:19)


Sarah Bartley is a regular contributor to our blog and member of NSCBC. She is currently co-teaching a Sunday School class called “Integrating Christian Faith and Work.”