The Bible shows us that our spiritual capacities are not one dimensional. The assets born in us when the Holy Spirit engages with our spirits come in a variety of flavors so we can pair them with whatever challenges are on our plates. Jesus could see great faith in the people he healed, and the skeptics had little faith. The psalm writers celebrated God’s unfailing love. Peter urges us to “love one another deeply, from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22) because it is possible to love people not so deeply. And there are all different kinds of hope.
The New Testament epistles are filled with recommendations to have a hope appropriate for our circumstances. They all relate to the life and work of Jesus that the gospels tell us about. There is sure hope, firm hope, living hope, blessed hope, good hope, better hope. They warn us against the limitations of human hopes alone and the despair that comes from having no hope at all.
The reformer Martin Luther wrote about his “battling hope” becoming vigorous and conquering the devil when his faith was attacked. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
What’s on your plate today, this week, and as far as the eye can see? Some of it may look appealing and some of it unappealing. Some of it you ordered, and some of it you didn’t. All of it will be tough to swallow without the right kind of hope.