Hope is the best way to live and breathe. Hope is also the name of Jon and Nancy’s daughter, but you knew that already. (And there’s a great story behind her name.)

Hope is big in the Bible. Something close to 189 mentions of the word turned up when I did a search. The strongest use of hope I can think of is anticipation of the future. We hope that something will happen. According to Paul, we “have been called to one glorious hope for the future.” It’s amazing to think of being reunited with God – being face-to-face. If you are not familiar with the Bible, this is a huge deal. That reunion is the day when, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

There’s big long-term hope and smaller short-term hope. It’s hard to hang onto long-term hope if your short-term hope is gone, and vice-versa. I find it comforting that even if my short-term hopes are not working out the way I planned, I still have long-term hope to hang onto. And that hope is based on God, not on some thing. I am thankful that I don’t have to understand why things happen or why they don’t. Some things are easy to figure out and others are a complete mystery. Most of the time, life falls into that mystery category.

So as we dive into this new year, I am hopeful for you. I am hopeful that you will have some of your mysteries solved – and in good ways. I am hopeful that you will understand more of who God is and about his love for you.

I’m hopeful for the same things for me. Thanks, God.

(Paul Merrill writes here every First Friday.)