I love the word hope. It is such a wonderful, optimistic word. It inspires, encourages, and motivates. It makes me smile. It has been the subject of countless songs, hymns, poems, sonnets, movies, and books. Hope is also a fabulous female name. Like the word love, the word hope can be difficult to define. It is so rich with meaning, so often used in our culture, and so saturated with history that we have a hard time wrapping our minds around it. Yet hope is foundational to life. Without hope, we die. The word hope appears over 150 times in Scripture. It is one of the three main elements of the Christian life (1 Cor. 13:13), the bedrock of our belief, and the reason for our joy. The Holman Bible Dictionary defines hope as “Trustful expectation, particularly with reference to the fulfillment of God’s promises.” Hope is not frivolous or ill informed. It is not flippant. True hope is grounded in facts, observations, and assurances. It is grounded in belief—and not “belief” as it is commonly defined today. Our culture often defines belief as personal preference or opinion, such as, “I believe abortion is necessary to secure women’s rights,” or “I believe abortion doesn’t kill a person; it just removes a blob of tissue.” Both statements are wrong opinions based on fallacies. And yet our culture gives credence to such opinions because we use the catch phrase “I believe.” I like Holman’s definition, “Trustful expectation.” We expect hope to be fulfilled because we trust or believe in the reasons for our hope. And those reasons are rock solid. Hope is essential to life, and it is essential to ending abortion in America. Human Coalition is designating 2017 as The Year of Hope. Though our key organizational passage is Proverbs 24:11-12, during 2017 we will explore Hebrews 10:23-25, as well as other passages about hope. Hebrews 10:23-25 (NASB) says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” This passage is packed with meaning, insight, and instruction. We’ll explore it together throughout 2017, but here are a few initial thoughts: 1. We will not waver. Those of us who are fighting to end America’s greatest holocaust will experience fatigue, frustration, and discouragement. There are times when we feel alone. Yet we do not waver. We will not falter; we will not fail. You and I know this war is primarily spiritual, and we serve the King of kings. Our hope is not built on our own efforts, goals, or abilities. It is based on the Creator God who made each one of us in His image. 2. We are to encourage one another to good deeds. In the effort to end abortion, the term “good deeds” takes on a myriad of meanings. However, instilling hope in a community that has very little of it is something all of us can and should do. Over the past five years, we’ve discovered just how essential hope is to ending abortion in our nation. Human Coalition serves mostly single, pregnant, abandoned women. Of those women in our post-crisis care program (called the Continuum of Care), 95% are single, 57% have other children, 89% are living below the poverty level, and 35% have criminal records. In other words, they have very little hope. Thousands of hurting women call us, and many choose to visit one of the 30 life-affirming pregnancy centers we partner with, or one of our 7 pro-life women’s care clinics. The primary emotion of the women we see in our clinics is anxiety. Oftentimes a woman is being coerced to abort her child by a boyfriend, mother, father, or pimp. If the abortion decision is hers, there are powerful influences on her life that make her feel like she has no choice. She may be financially strapped, emotionally insecure, abused, and neglected. The antidote for anxiety? Hope. Trustful expectation. We want our clients to trust us and trust that we will help them, walk with them, stand by them, and advocate for them. It is not a frivolous hope. It is a promise we make and work diligently to fulfill—every time. Can all of us be promoters of hope to an abortion-determined community of millions of women who don’t have any hope? 3. We must work together. This Hebrews passage is often used to encourage us to be deeply involved in our churches and faith communities, and this is a proper application. However, I believe it applies to our movement to end abortion as well. Human Coalition is, at its essence, a justice effort. While we sometimes think of justice as judging oppressors, justice also means rescuing those being oppressed. Christians are to be deeply, passionately involved in bringing justice to those who are victimized. And we are to be rescuers—together. There is much about the pro-life movement to argue about, and there is much that can divide us. It is far better, though, to focus on that which unifies us—our belief that every human being is precious and should be protected. And we are driven by a passion to rescue those being delivered to death, both child and mother. Abortion can be ended in America in one generation. That is a belief based on fact. However, abortion will not be ended without a unified Church. Being unified doesn’t mean we agree on everything, for certainly we won’t. Unified means we focus on that which is common among us. The Human Coalition staff is a beautiful example of this unity amidst diversity. Our 110+ team members represent different races, colors, creeds, denominations, and sects. If we spent time discussing baptism, the end times, worship styles, theological interpretation, or church history, I suspect the arguments would never cease. However, we aren’t here to argue about those things. We are here to help end the worst holocaust in human history, to protect image bearers of God, to bring help to abandoned and rejected women, to restore biblical manhood, and to save every baby we can. And we are to do it together. Why? Hope. Because we’ve seen hope turn into life almost 6,000 times. Because hope is transforming the hearts of men and restoring their warrior spirits. Because hope is motivating the Church out of its silent ambivalence and apathy. Because hope is the antidote to abortion, and the antidote is spreading like wildfire. Thank you for embarking on this adventure with us. Let our unfailing hope in our Savior drive us, may it encourage us, and may it be the reason for our success.