Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see. Hebrews 11:1, CEB
Hope is also about having a certain kind of memory.
I’ve talked about this many times but, in the Old Testament, remembering is about being mindful of something just as much as it is recalling past events. Hope is not just about looking to the future but also about remembering the past. That’s part of the reason the Bible is so important. It shows us how God has acted over time. We learn that He’s the type of God who rescues people, even if they’ve gotten themselves into trouble.
Up until recently, I had not seen hope in action this way. Several times in the past few weeks I’ve watched as one friend reminded another of times when God acted in their lives in the past. They were reminded of hopeless times that somehow became more hopeful. Part of our job is to maintain that kind of memory. We don’t forget that God saves. We are mindful of the fact that He brings people out of their own mess. We’re mindful of the fact that He has brought us out of messes before, even though it may have been an incredibly painful process.
It’s difficult to have that kind of memory. The present and the future seem a lot more important than the past. But, hope is not something that God just sends to us. We need to cultivate certain practices that allow us to live in a place of hopefulness. One of those practices is remembering. Whether we remember our past or whether someone reminds us of it, we had better be mindful if we want to have hope.