Hope is the confident desire of attaining a difficult good in the future. Hope includes a willingness to engage in effort to overcome any obstacles to the goal. Hope is also an expression of wishful thinking, as for example to say, "I hope that __(a desired outcome will be realized)__." Hope is generally an outgrowth of the optimism that expects good in general, or the reasonable expectation that a particular kind of good very possibly might come, given the right circumstances, but without any absolute guarantee that it will be so.
Practical hope is the purity of unconditional optimism which has been prudently conditioned by the practical experience of ordinary occasions of disappointment or frustration, temporary set-backs, which do not actually destroy all hope, but only diminish its intensity to some lesser or greater degree. Hope then becomes the reasonable expectation that the looked-for goal just might possibly be attained, and that it is, after all, not entirely a complete impossibility. Hope sees no real reason to believe that it can't happen, and every reason to expect that it probably will. Hope does not give up, and never quits.
What is called a "fond hope" is an illusion or delusion, rooted in a fanciful denial of reality often based on stubborn personal pride and vanity, wishful thinking that an impossible expectation will be completely fulfilled without any realistic reason or possibility of ever being realized, inevitably ending only in total disappointment.
The opposite of hope is despair.
Hope in Christianity
In Christian thought, hope is one of the three divine virtues identified by St Paul (along with faith and love). It should be noted that the original Greek word used by Paul can be translated both as "hope" and "expectation". Hope as a virtue means something stronger than a simple desire that something will happen: it also requires confidence or faith that it will come to pass (consider the phrase "sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life" from the funeral liturgy). Christian hope is the assured and confident expectation of good guaranteed by the unbreakable promises of God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Study Love: Hopeth All Things, an analytical outline on "hopeth all things" (πάντα ἐλπίζει) in 1 Cor. 13:7.