Everyone needs hope. Studies have shown that optimistic mind-sets lead to better living. Alex Smith, a former quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs, had a stretch of a year and a half where doctors were unsure if he would hold up from an on-the-field injury to his leg. Initially, they had considered amputating his leg to increase his chances for survival. It had become severely infected in the early stages of his recovery, black puss-like sores appeared and flesh eating disease had invaded his swollen leg, probably on account of the broken leg bone protruding through his skin, giving rise to infection. He recovered! Not only is he walking again, but he hopes to return and play again!
Hope plays a key role in dealing with life’s adversities. Although everyone has hope of some kind, it remains to be seen if it is the right kind that is well founded. The determinant factor behind the substance of lasting hope is what is important. Let us ask ourselves if our confidence and desire lies in what the world may offer. If that is sufficiently so, it is limited to what it can do for us. It cannot satisfy our soul is yearning for something greater, at best giving us some degree of comfort about our physical wellness and financial security, which may in fact find you wanting more over time anyway. The Bible teaches that the man who lives life without God cannot know real happiness. Solomon, perhaps the richest and most powerful man of his time had experienced a period in his life where this could be said of him. His words are reflective: So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me: because everything is futility and striving after wind. (Ecclesiastes 2: 17) Enduring hope sets its sights on meeting the soul`s need. Looking to God is essential because peace of soul cannot be found in anything else. The counterpart to hope is despair which the rich and famous experience though their lives are full of most everything that life can offer, yet anxiety and fears plague their everyday lives. To get everything you desire does not guarantee true contentment and often enough those that do have their expectations met are still searching for something more. The promises of Scripture speaks of a hope which gives us confidence in whatever God has promised will ultimately come to pass. This means then that God’s faithfulness goes even beyond what we may expect from Him, to do exceedingly greater things than what we can ever imagine! That is why when God made a covenant or agreement with His people Israel, He held up His end though they did not. He always fulfills His end of the agreement, though we fail to uphold our part, which is good news for all of us! So His faithfulness does not depend on what we may do, but on His unchanging character. In the book of Hebrews, the author speaks often about the faithfulness of God in Christ. The unfailing ground of our hope for a heavenly rest is found in His Son to fulfill His promise of salvation to all those who put their trust in Him and repent of their sins. So God`s ability and reliability to do what He says is the foundation for the Christian’s hope. God says it, we believe it. Hope casts its eyes on futuristic things, while faith acts on it. Faith and hope are then like travelling companions going in the same direction with the same thing in view.
Real hope then takes on a God’s perspective on life. We do not have to fret about what is to come, our current crisis from what the aftermath of this pandemic may look like may be quite disrupting and upsetting for many, yet we need not bow our heads in despair. For one thing, you can have the comforting assurance that whatever happens is under the control of the ONE who holds our future. Hear what the apostle Paul says about Christ faithfulness in ever changing situations that he encountered:
For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. (2 Timothy 1:12)
Do you know Christ in that intimate way and can say the same about your current circumstances as did Paul? Do you rest assured that every outcome is in God’s Hands, no matter how troublesome it may appear to you? When the end comes, and each has to face God, are you sure you are prepared spiritually to meet God on His terms? Are you seeing things differently than how God sees them? Is your hope based in the world and not on God’s Truth. In a classic children’s story, Alice in Wonderland, Alice looks through a looking glass (mirror) and discovers an alternative universe, where things were contrary to the real world, where things are not as they should be. A Christian`s hope sees life quite differently than how the world sees it, Hope that is set on God’s Promises finds fulfillment in the outcome, ultimately. The Christian’s hope in Christ is sure and tangible, wherein He can be depended on whenever help is needed, especially His forgiveness and His gift of eternal life, while everything else is uncertain and fleeing at best and only offers a flicker of satisfaction, our unchangeable God always delivers on His promises. We recognize that cottages, secure employment, good marriages, friendships, the things many aspire for and commonly considered to increase the quality of our existence and for those we love, are good in themselves, yet are temporal and are not a substitute for the eternal realities that are ours in Christ, those things that will remain constant, and to be enjoyed presently with greater prospects awaiting us in heaven. Therefore, do not stake your life on things that are temporary at best, they have an expiry date, they will cease, and instead focus your attention on the things that are eternal, unfailing, that offer real peace and gratification. Only in God and His Dear Son can we know real hope for sure. The Scriptures teach us:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:1,2)
And again in another place, we are told about God who cannot fail.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)
If you have not placed personal faith in Christ, it is time that you do so, and learn what many transformed souls have already discovered for themselves — to stop wasting time on worrying about things that never really bring true contentment. As C.S. Lewis once observed: “All that is not eternal is eternally useless.”
Consider Jesus Christ and His work on the cross to deliver us from His Wrath that will be felt by those who refuse His great salvation that still stands today. Let us enter into the eternal rest (salvation) that had been offered in the past to Israel in the wilderness, and still available to us today! (see Hebrews 4:1-5).
May God help you as you consider these matters.