The world wants to believe in things that are tangible.
People want to worship things they can touch, they can “feel”, they can see. For some people this means false religion. People bow to idols made of wood, metal, and stone. For others, idols are much more abstract, but are still tangible, like an academic degree, their children or other people in their lives (even their spouse), or verbal acclimation and affirmation of their successes at work or even in the church.
Tangible is comforting in a worldly way. It is reminiscent of the gentleman in Scripture who continues building barns to store his possessions (Luke 12). We store up these tangible barns so that we can point and say “AH! There is hope in my life.”
There was a time in the last year of our lives when I was convinced that Dave was dying. I watched him as he lay in the hospital bed and I lost all sense of hope. Never in my life had I been without the experience of hope tangibly and there it was- hopelessness. Through the Body of Christ, over the next several days, I was filled with the Word and His sacrament. I was told over and over that Hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:5). Hope is in Christ. It isn’t my seeing it, my feeling it, or my sensing it that makes it real. If Dave died that day, Hope would remain, because Hope is Christ, my Redeemer.
Hope is not intended to be tangible. It’s not even a feeling. People are constantly looking for the experience of hope, but Hope simply is. It is Biblical Truth- Christ Jesus crucified and rose. When we trust in the experience of Hope we will always be disappointed. There will be times in our lives when Hope is stripped down to it’s absolute barest core – we won’t see it, feel it, or sense it. In these moments it feels lost, hope feels gone. This verse reminds us of what Hope is- alive in the Spirit, ungraspable, a reality only through Faith by Grace- our salvation.