Hope requires imagination. It’s hard to hope for a better tomorrow when we cannot even imagine this as a possibility. And so to cultivate hope means we must also cultivate our imagination.
To be sure, hope is a desire and expectation for what’s to come. This means it has not yet arrived and requires us to imagine its possibility in the future. For instance, the hope for a better job, marriage, or even the joy of our next family vacation all demand we envision these possibilities. And there’s nothing to hope for without this vision and anticipation of what’s still to come.
This is true in our life of faith as well. It’s difficult to have a confident faith and keep our hope anchored in God when we can’t imagine what it might look like for him to come through on our behalf. Our lack of faith might be due to our lack of hope, which might in turn be the result of our lack of imagination.
To be fair, we cannot imagine better outcomes than God. But exercising our imagination and wondering how God might show up allows us to cultivate hope. It gives us something to look forward to.
Of course, there’s wisdom in still holding the particulars loosely, as our hope remains in God alone and not the particular images we envision. But our ability to imagine keeps our hearts open. And we’re less likely to take bold steps of faith without a compelling vision calling us forward. In fact, we might stop living by faith at all because we only trust what our own eyes can see instead of imagining what’s possible with God.
In the end, cultivate hope and increase your faith by exercising your imagination. Let your soul freely ponder the good God is more than able to bring you.