I think it's interesting that, in Spanish, the word for "hoping" is the same word for "waiting." For example, you could say, Están esperando el autobús; They are waiting for the bus. Or, you could say, Estaba esperando de alguna simpatía; I was hoping for some sympathy. In English, the word "waiting" implies expectation, while "hoping" can be more synonymous with "wishing." When we hope for something, usually we have in our heads that it may not happen. However, I think the Spanish connotation fits a little better when it comes to the hope we have from God.
Romans chapter 8 talks about the hope we can have as children of God to receive our spiritual inheritance. Observe the tone of this passage:
19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed... 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved...
This definitely sounds like the thing we are hoping for is something that we should be expecting to happen. I have heard different Bible teachers talk about things that are "now but not yet," like the fact that our souls are hidden with Christ, but we are still physically here on this earth. I think the same concept is going on here with our adoption as God's children. Verse 16 says, The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Apparently we are already God's children, yet we are still waiting for what we are to receive as heirs. Picking up the passage with the rest of verse 24, we read the obvious:
24 ...But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
I love what is said further down in the chapter to convince us that our hope is well-founded:
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose... 31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? ...35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ...37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Woah. That's some pretty powerful stuff, if we really take it to heart. I would sum it up as saying that in every single situation in our lives (us being those who are already in loving relationship with Him), whether in good or bad circumstances, God is right there loving us, so we can hope, really believe that he is working out the best for us. We don't have to wonder if God will love and take care of us; we can already know He will, even though the future hasn't happened yet. I can't talk about this without bringing up Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
In my life I have done a lot of waiting. As a teenager, it felt like it was taking forever to find a boyfriend. Once I started dating Tommy, we waited 3 1/2 years to get married while he paid off his debt. From the time we thought we were ready to buy a house, it took us over 2 years to find one. As we were starting to get settled and to think about trying for children, Tommy took a major pay cut at work, enough that I had to start looking for a job and forget about kids for a while. Then, through a number of circumstances, we decided to move to Nicaragua to become missionaries. However, we had to do something with our house first, and it rented just in the nick of time after much agonizing over what we would do if it didn't. Now we are here, but we are still waiting for our "new" (rental) house to be built as we continue to live in the mission. Currently, Tommy is on a trip to a remote location up the Rio Coco, so I'm having to wait a week for him to come home.
What is crazy to me is that I am able to reduce these events, many of which were agonizing at the time, to single sentences. When we were waiting to get married, it was so frustrating to have to drive back and forth all the time to be able to see each other. Now it's hard to remember a lot of that time period. These things are just the major highlights of my life since high school, but I could throw in a ton more "smaller" events. The underlying thing in all of them, though, is that God did work things out for my good. Things I spent so much energy wishing and praying for, He did for me. There were also things that I wanted but that I didn't get, and I can look back now and feel so glad that I didn't get them. This proves to me that God really is looking out for what is best for me.
With this in mind, I shouldn't have any reason to worry about anything. I have witnessed the effects of verse 28 in my life over and over again, so now I hang on to that promise like a security blanket. It is true that I may (and likely will) have to go through a lot of unpleasantness to get to my blessings--and that does produce anxiety in me--but still I know that God is completely faithful. Realizing this has made a huge difference in my life. As I have trusted God with more of my life, He has consistently held up His end of things. I still get nervous and frustrated and impatient at times, but I'm finding less and less reason to hang on to those emotions.
What are you waiting for right now? Do you have hope that God will work it out for your good? Why or why not?