Hope is a Dangerous Thing
Let me tell you something friend, hope is a dangerous thing. Hope will drive a man insane. It’s got no use on the inside. You better get used to that idea. – Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding, Shawshank Redemption.
It is the image of prison that sets the idea of hope in perfect contrast. Hope is conspicuous in captivity. There’s no place for it in prison because hope forbids a person to accept their condition. And, you must come to terms with your condition to survive captivity. Strangely, in prison, hope leads to despair because hope has nowhere to focus and gets stuck in a loop. The sooner one gives up and stops trying to escape, the quicker despair will give way to meaninglessness. Only then will a prisoner accept their condition. Only the hopeless make good prisoners.
This is why the redeemed make terrible prisoners. Not because they incite some riot, or resist restraints. While they never try to escape, they do possess such a confidence as to assume the key to the front gate is in their shirt pocket. Hope is a disturbance to the system. The hopeful are an anomaly in captivity. They’re like prisoners who dance in their cells, or smile at a plate of mush, or submit to routines with joy. They’ve been tainted by hope. The immanent sense of relief has been smuggled into their hearts.
Biblically speaking, hope is the incurable sense of the temporariness of our situation brought on by news of our pardon. We are already pardoned, but we are not yet released. Hope is the emotion of living between these truths. Hope is not wishing something would happen, but knowing it to be inevitable. And, hope is a privilege. Only the hopeful can ever know the thrill of anticipation experienced in this moment in-between where we are and where we will inevitably be. Actually, hope has every place on the inside. Only in the future does hope cease to make sense. Why would I hope for something I have?
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:2
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us… For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we await for it with patience. – Romans 8:18, 24-25
- What’s the difference between faith and hope? Does it matter? How do they work together? How does each one affect us?
- Why are “bucket lists” so appealing? What do you want to do before you die? How could a biblical perspective affect our list?
- How has our view of the future been affected by western culture?
- How are hope and joy related?
- How does biblical hope help pry our hearts off our idols in the here and how? Do we merely drop our dependence on one thing because it’s bad? Do we drop one thing because another is much better?