By it’s very construct, hope can be totally ephemeral, simply can be a wish. In light of the fact that hope can be totally ephemeral, absent linkage to faith, and rooting of hope, equivalently faith in evidence or reason, hope merely is wishful thinking.
Suppose a medical doctor hopes to become an engineer. If the medical doctor, whose college regimen did not consist of advanced courses in mathematics, physics, and engineering does not believe he (or she) is adept at picking up knowledge of which he (or she) is deficient, there is no ‘faith in himself’, hope merely is wishful thinking. If the medical doctor does not embark on remediation of knowledge of which he is deficient, there does not exist any evidence or reason for hope, hope again merely is wishful thinking.
Hope that is not linked to faith, that is not supported by reason or evidence merely is wishful thinking, merely is ropes of sand.
Applying the foregoing, it must be the case that ‘to hope in God’ is ‘to have faith in God’, with faith and hope rooted in reason and evidence.
The Reason or Evidence for God? There exists numerous evidences for God. I mention two important pieces of evidence.
The order in the universe
Inclusive of Albert Einstein, most honest scientists who have studied the universe conclude that in presence of the sort of order present in the universe, it is impossible to conceive absence of a Creator. While these scientists do not necessarily believe in a personal God, a God who has interest in welfare of mankind, they are honest enough to concede order evident in the universe implies existence of a Creator.
Ancient Civilizations that have survived to this day
Another important piece of evidence? Based on secular history (Hall and Kirk 2005), ancient civilizations are inclusive of Mesopotomian, Hittite, Egyptian, Hebrew, Greek civilizations etc. Out of all of these ancient civilizations, only two have survived with their identity intact. These are the Hebrew or Jewish civilization, and the Greek civilization. Note that while Egypt has survived as a geographical entity, it has not survived as a civilization. Egypt no longer is Pharoah land, rather is Islamic in civilization.
Last I checked, Christian Scriptures, the Bible is written originally in the Hebrew and Greek languages, and Jesus’ earthly origins are Jewish. If God must be eternal, and be capable of preserving what is important to Him, survival of Hebrew and Greek civilizations counts as evidence for existence of God.
By the way, whenever someone says Jesus is the white (European) man’s God, they confuse races do they not? Ephesus, which boasted what perhaps was the model church of Apostle Paul’s times is located in Asia not Europe.
But then I digress.
With respect to faith as basis for hope, there exists two supporting arguments for placing of faith in God.
First, we have a promise in Christian Scriptures given by Jesus Christ in Matthew 6:33, and reiterated in Hebrews 11:6, which both state as follows (words in brackets mine in spirit of an amplified reading):
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (seek first to be like Jesus in all things), and all these (all other things that are good for life on earth) shall be added to you.
And without faith it is impossible to please Him (that is, God). For whoever would draw near to God must believe (have faith) that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him (rewards those who seek first to be like Jesus in all things).
Second, consider that all of the civilizations in today’s world which are attractive to people who seek succor from mismanagement of their very own countries are in their origins built on faith in Jesus Christ.
Was the faith ever perfect? No. Was the faith ever not corrupted by greed and other human deficiencies or weaknesses? Again, the answer, a resounding No.
What is important is, Western Europe and the United States of America are civilizations built on faith in the name of Jesus Christ. The rich Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland etc.), which due to language barriers may not be quite as attractive to immigrants? Built on faith in Jesus Christ. Neither of current deviations, or historical imperfections of either of believers or rulers negate the fact that historically, both rulers and people acknowledged Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Having established presence of evidence or reason for hope, and having established both importance of faith and evidence that historically faith has been rewarded, what does it mean to hope in God (2 Thessalonians 2:13–14)?
What then does it mean to hope in God?
But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord (people loved by Jesus Christ), because God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this, He called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To hope in God is to believe it is possible to become like Jesus Christ in character, in essence, in glory. To hope in God is to believe that just as Jesus epitomized love in His actions and treatment of people, so it is possible for every man or woman to be in relations with others.
The promise from Jesus and His Father? When you aspire to love, they respond with blessings of prosperity. Regardless, if you desire to transition from medical doctor to engineer, there is effort God expects from you. God’s blessings are not intended to violate laws of nature. Without sowing (doing something), reaping must be impossible.
Imperfect though the people have been, and with faith in God sometimes discolored by human greed and weakness, prosperity of the United States of America, and Western Europe, and Nordic Countries is evidence Jesus and His Father hold up their end of the bargain, reward faith with lasting foundations for prosperity.
As to divisions of prosperity, note that only in presence of prosperity does the division of prosperity become an interesting question. There always have been people who attempt to hijack prosperity fostered by faith in God. There probably always will be such people. History is replete with man’s efforts at achieving redistribution of prosperity.
But then again, must attempts at redistribution of prosperity not be rooted in hope, faith, and love, all of which embed both meritocracy (reason and evidence) and care (love) that no one is left behind? Must redistribution not reward those who did not oppress their fellow man or woman in order to achieve prosperity? If redistribution itself is unjust, is it not merely a seizing of power by another faction of society, as opposed to an exercise in equity and justice?
Will you dare to hope in God? If you already hope in God, will you dare to continue to hope in God? The promise from God is, for those who do not lose heart there is a rich reward (Galatians 6:9).