Hope does not build on certainty. To hope means we cannot be completely sure. There are no guarantees. Coming to God with a mixture of hope and excitement is normal and human. We may even experience less welcome feelings alongside hope, such as anxiety, fear, and distrust. But those feelings are acceptable. God welcomes us with whatever degree and quality of hope possible for us. Even if the hope is simply an inexpressible desire for something more, it has power, and its power grows as we nurture the hope in God's presence.
The psalmist says, "You, O LORD, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth" (Psalm 71:5). When we anchor our hope in God's steady love and good plans for us, hope becomes a permanent part of us. We have hope not because we are powerful or smart or resourceful but because of who God is. And as we test our hope by acting on it, we release God's power into our circumstances. Our "hope muscle" grows stronger and our desire for God more compelling, just as exercising strengthens our physical muscles. As we consciously work with God, we will see more evidence of God's work in the world around us. The more we hope and watch, the more we will see that reinforces our hope and trust.
-- Mary Lou Redding in “While We Wait” (Nashville, Tenn.: Upper Room Books, 2002)