What is Hope? Part 1 – The Hope Series

i will not lose hope - photographic illustration by Jeremy Binns

On the surface, it seems like an overly simple question.  “What is hope?”  Most of us probably use it in our conversations on a daily basis, but it is one of those commonplace words that are far more significant in their meaning than we often think of when using them.

yosemite park burned area - photo by jeremy binnsWhen I was asking myself the question, “What is hope?”, I kept coming up with mental pictures to describe it.

One of those pictures was something that I saw while visiting Yosemite National Park with my brother.  We came across a section of the forest that had been completely burned.

The trees were gone, completely gone.  Black charred spikes marked the spots where they had once been.  It wasn’t the version of Yosemite that you see in the brochures.

Still, all throughout the landscape, there were signs of new life emerging from the ashes.  A new generation of trees beginning their ascent to take the places of their majestic predecessors.

In my mind, those new trees are a lot like hope.  Each small tree is a small oasis of life in a barren landscape of ruin.  They represent the possibility of this landscape returning to its former glory.

Hope is the conviction that the future has the potential to be better than the present. Hope is the belief that something beautiful can emerge from the ashes of failure and shame.

When Martin Luther King Jr. uttered the indelible words, “I have a dream”, the passion he imparted was hope.  It was possibility.  It was potential.  There were no guarantees, but there was hope!

Even today those words stir something deep within our hearts because they communicate a simple and yet vital ingredient in a thriving life.  Hope.

What is hope?  Hope is the belief that my children might experience a better version of life than I have. A life with less pain and regret, and a life that is filled with more joy and happiness than I’ve found.

What is hope?  Hope is feeling the hands of the Potter as they pick up the pieces of a broken existence and begin to reassemble them into something new.

there are better things ahead - cs lewis quote - artwork by jeremy binnsWhat is hope?  Hope is the possibility that my failures and faults are not so great as to derail my destiny.

Hope is the greatest motivator I’ve ever experienced, and real hope will always inspire us to try again regardless of the circumstances.

Conversely, the lack of hope, or hopelessness strips us of that will to try. The absence of hope is the heaviest burden that a person will ever bear.

In the next posts, we’re going to look at the power of hope, and where to find it when it’s gone.


Romans 4:18 In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations…

View the Hope Series

View the entire hope series here:

All images and artwork contained in this post are copyright Jeremy Binns.

About the Author

Jeremy BinnsWhen I'm not trying to save the world from the coming zombie invasion, I love my wife, hug my daughters, write, photograph, listen, observe, explore, and worship.View all posts by Jeremy Binns →

  • LeahHopesForMondays

    I really enjoyed your post series on hope! I even referenced your posts on my personal blog “Hope For Mondays” at hopeformondays.com, for my latest post on how everyone uses hope whether they realize it or not. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, looking forward to reading more of you work!

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

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