“And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7
Matthew and I recently watched the movie, “Deepwater Horizon” on Netflix. It’s a movie about the 2010 BP debacle that left eleven oil rig employees dead and 4.9 million barrels of oil to spill into the Gulf of Mexico.
It was a difficult movie to watch. I mean those were real lives affected. The poor decisions of a few leaders trying to save a bit of money led to the largest catastrophe of its kind in human history. Yet none of those leaders wanted it to happen, and they put their hope in the fact that it wouldn’t despite warnings from more learned people than themselves.
One of my favorite lines from the movie was this. “Hope is not a strategy”. You see, the BP executive had sent the oil well inspectors away without allowing them to properly inspect the well for safety. It was going to be a costly inspection, and they were planning on pulling out from that drill site soon anyway. The BP executive decided to just hope for the best and save the company some money. Preliminary tests all looked good, but the experienced drillers on the rig all knew the inspections were needed.
After watching this movie and connecting so much with that line about hope, I started thinking about the role that hope plays in our lives. We all have hopes. I find myself hoping for lots of things. But is hope a strategy? Most of the time, I don’t think it is.
Let’s say you own your own business and you want to grow that business to be more profitable. You narrow your options down to two plans for growth. One plan will likely be more successful, but you are unsure as to which one that is. So you decide to add hope to one. Will merely adding hope to one of the plans improve its chance for success? I don’t think so.
Okay, look at it this way. Financially, things are tough. There is often more month than money in your account. You are really hoping for enough money to be able to pay your bills this month. Is that hope going to be enough to change your circumstance, and see more money come in to your account? No. It really isn’t.
You see, hope presumes on a future that only exists in our minds and in our… hopes. The past is gone. The future does not yet exist. The only moment we have is this one. We can have hope for things in the future, but what does that really do? Can hope really be a strategy? I can hope for grandchildren one day, but does that mean my hope will ensure I get them? I can hope my neck stops looking more and more like a chicken’s, but will that hope restore the worn out collagen in my skin?
In only one context that I can think of, can hope be a strategy. We have to change the preposition associated with hope. Instead of hoping for things, we hope in something… more specifically, in someone. As believers, when we put our hope IN Christ, that makes all the difference. When we change the preposition, we aren’t presuming on the future, but trusting in the One who is able and holds our future.
When we put our hope in Christ, we can stand on the promise that he will give us the desires of our hearts, because now we are called according to His purpose. When we walk in the purpose He has for us, then our hopes are not wishes… they are the foundation for the steps we take to fulfill our purpose. We have the confidence to form the strategies that will see our hopes in Christ realized.
We inspect the well. We budget our money. We begin interviewing potential wives for our sons and husbands for our daughters so that we can have those grandchildren before we are living in an old folk’s home, too old and demented to enjoy them.
As believers, Christ is the great hope that we have. It’s the only place where hope has any teeth, and the only context where it is a strategy. King David hoped for many things, but he knew the best place he could put his hope was in the Lord. Jesus is the only real hope we have.