Yesterday I used a gift card to buy Mike Huckabee’s new book, From Hope to Higher Ground. I was disappointed by last night’s South Carolina primary results, but still I picked up his book to see what he really believes. I wanted to see for myself what kind of writer Huck is; I am not disappointed!
In fact, Huckabee’s first two chapters inspired me to look up the word hope in the Bible and see what God has to say on the subject. Huck has a God-given insight to the hurts of people around him; he really sees that people in this country of all persuasions are sick of the ineptitude and bungling mess that is now Washington. Mommies are working two jobs to keep their daddy-less families afloat; kids are killing kids in gang violence across the country — and not just in the big cities. A sense of cynicism and despondency has taken hold of many of us in America as we shrug our shoulders and figure that it’s too far gone to be fixed.
Then along comes Mike Huckabee, the underdog from Arkansas. The man’s faith and hope in the Lord is part of his DNA. His convictions come through loud and clear not just in his words, but in his actions. He is a do-er. Best of all, he has hope for America.
The Biblical sense of hope is a bit different than our modern interpretation of the word. My daughter eagerly might say that she “hopes” we will bake brownies this afternoon, my husband might “hope” that the Longhorns will pull it together next year, I might “hope” that the House Fairy will cook dinner for me while I’m laid up with a cold, and my dogs might “hope” we’ll forget that we already fed them and will feed them again.
A recent search of Biblegateway.com brought up 174 references to the word hope in the Bible. Take a look at these verses from Psalm 33:
13 From heaven the LORD looks down
and sees all mankind;
14 from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth-
15 he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do.
16 No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
20 We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
22 May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.
In those verses, the Hebrew word for hope is yachal. It is translated as to wait, to hope, to expect. The key thing here is the expectation that what you are hoping for will come to pass. My daughter doesn’t expect brownies just because she hopes for one; I don’t expect the House Fairy to make dinner! But I do expect the Lord to be my shield and my country’s defender! I expect Him to defeat my enemies because He is the creator and through Christ death has already been defeated. I expect Him to stir up a revival in our hearts so that we will reach out and truly love one another, as Jesus commands (and as Huckabee advocates!). Here’s another one, this time from Psalm 65:
5 You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness,
O God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas,
This word yachal — hope — speaks of what we might call optimistic hope. I admit I am not a cynic. I have always seen possibilities when none easily presented themselves. My faith in the God who created this world gives me undeniable optimistic hope. I had a recent conversation with someone who believes the greatness of America is behind us. They think that we are on the way out — that as a country we have lost favor with God. I can’t in good conscience believe that the God who sacrificed his Son ever gives up on his people. He pursues us just as we pursue our lost car keys, lost wallet, lost coin, lost child.
Mike Huckabee has this kind of hope in God, and this hope comes through loud and clear in his book. I recommend that those of you who are seeking who to support in the upcoming primary elections will take a look at his website (see the link at left). Find his book at your library or get it online or local bookstore. Read it and think.
I hope you will be inspired to pick up your Bibles and see what God has to say about life and challenges facing us as a nation…you will see that Governor Huckabee’s vision for America has a Biblical capstone. He lives his life for Christ and truly seeks to do unto others as he wants them to do unto him. His practical ideas are more than just policies and programs; they are about changing our country’s attitudes from those of cynicism to those of optimism. It was optimism — and hope — that birthed our country from thirteen extremely independent colonies. It was optimism that kept our country together and set us on the right path during and after the Civil War. Optimism brought us through the Depression, the Cold War. Now we face global terrorism, an oil-addiction, soaring health care issues, and overwhelming economic difficulties; optimism — and hope in the Lord — will surely bring us to higher ground.