Recent psychological studies seem to reveal a disadvantage to being hopeful. In one, students were asked how well they thought they did on a test. Often, those who performed the worst thought that they did well, outshining their peers. They were hopeful. Whereas the best students tended to rate their work as average, assuming that half the class did as well as they did. This is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Incompetent people tend to be over-hopeful. One has to know something in order to have doubts. Dunning-Kruger is everywhere. Your coworkers, the current crop of politicians, your teenage children. In many areas of life, hope disappoints.
There is another kind of hope, though. One that is developed over a series of difficulties. It is the product of the Holy Spirit — but not the gentle dove of a relaxed evening by the lake — but the unseen God who sustains us through life’s darkest moments.
This hope is the possession of those who are thankful and open about their sufferings. Those who have learned that patience is a choice — we may choose to be patient in a minor situation today. The next time affliction comes into our lives, it will be a bit more strenuous. We double down and choose patience again. This process is repeated. The spirit guides us to choose the more difficult path, each time. This repetition produces endurance. Endurance forges us, like a hammer repeatedly striking the same piece of metal on an anvil, into people of a certain character. Into people with a hope that does not disappoint.