Hope is an elusive thing. In different ways, we have all pinned some aspect of our lives on hope. We hope for a promotion at work; for good weather this weekend; for our team to win; for better health; for our lottery ticket to have the winning number; for love and understanding; for safety and security and a thousand other things. Hope is a critical part of life, yet we don’t often understand just how important a role it plays. We can’t live without hope.
Here’s what many people fail to understand: Hope is only as good as the object in which you place your hope. You can hope for a promotion at work but what if your boss doesn’t like you? You can hope for good weather this weekend, but what if the forecast is for rain? You can hope for your team to win but what if they just stink? You can hope to win the lottery, but your chances are one in millions. You can hope for love and understanding but what if your friends are just nasty people? You can hope for safety and security but what if there is no reliable security structure where you live?
The object in which you place your hope is everything.
I just returned from a Third World country where life seems so hopeless for most people. As I discussed the hopeless plight of the people with a friend, he responded that the average person lives their life in hope – hope that someone will come to help them. For some their hope is in their government. For others it’s in an NGO, or relatives and friends in another country, or hitting the lottery (yes, even in drastically poor countries they spend their money on the lottery).
They were hopeless but living in hope.
They just want someone – anyone to help them. Meanwhile they live lives of quiet (and sometimes not so quiet) desperation. Unfortunately for most of the people the object of their hope has failed them.
And that’s where the Christian faith comes alive. We can offer them real Hope.
Not always hope for more food or better living conditions (although we could do more, and in fact have an obligation to help in these areas) but Hope for peace today and a future with God where every tear will be wiped away (Rev 21:4).
The Christian faith is sometimes criticized as offering an unrealistic hope because it doesn’t immediately change the present circumstances.
But hope always has a future aspect – we hope that the future will be different than the present. And the future, whether near or far is in God’s hands.
The truth is that the Christian life is all about Hope.
We were saved in Hope (Rom 8:24)
We are to cover ourselves in Hope (1 Thess 5:8).
The coming of Jesus is our Hope (Titus 2:13).
We have hope for an eternity with God (1 Cor 15:19, Titus 1:2).
We are to hang onto our Hope to the very end of life (Heb 3:6, 6:11).
Our Hope is based on the faithfulness of God (Heb 10:23).
Our Hope is alive because of the resurrection of Jesus (1 Peter 1:3).
It’s not just hope in this life as the Apostle Paul makes clear (1 Cor 15:19), it’s hope for this life and for eternity.
Hope is the answer for the human dilemma. And that’s what we have to offer.
Hope. Real, life-changing, eternal hope.
Stay in the Word