It is only human to question God when we learn of such personal tragedies as a young person stricken with cancer or international catastrophes like the recent Haitian earthquake. Yet a proper understanding of God's dealings comes only by learning his perspective, which calls for great patience as we wait on the Lord in certain hope that he will have his way in his time (Isaiah 40:27-31). I am not talking about giving people false hope but, rather, assurance that Jesus will never leave nor forsake his own (Hebrews 13:5).
This hope is not that which "springs eternal in the human breast," as the English poet Alexander Pope penned. It comes only from God, as the Jewish psalmist King David wrote: "O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you" (Psalm 39:7). Apart from entering into a relationship with the Heavenly Father through faith in his only begotten son Jesus, we are "separated from Christ having no hope and without God in the world" (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:12). And there is nothing sadder than hopelessness.
But what is the Biblical meaning of hope? It is a heartfelt desire for something that has yet to be fulfilled (Proverbs 13:12). For believers, our ultimate hope is the redemption of our bodies when Christ returns (Romans 8:23-25). Although our souls are already saved by faith, our bodies are still subject to pain and suffering as a result of our human condition. We look forward with hope to our resurrection bodies, which will be free from physical frailty and mortality (1 Corinthians 15:50-54).
Even in hardship and suffering, Christians can know that God works all things together to accomplish his good purposes in his children; even if situations remain difficult, God guarantees good results in the end to those who accept his call (Romans 8:28). Regarding Christ the Lord as uniquely holy in our hearts, we should always be prepared to defend God's goodness to anyone who asks why we have this hope within us (1 Peter 3:15). If we only have the hope of Christ in this life, we are most pitiable (1 Corinthians 15:19).