The Beautiful Hope
Science is wiser than religion: it never tries to do the humanly impossible, like making you love your neighbor like yourself.
In Evan Esar, 20,000 Quips and Quotes, 704. Doubleday (June 1968)
People of Hope change things. When I think of some of our great leaders of humanity almost all were those who fought through adversity, prejudice, and circumstance. Why? Because they believed a change could, and had to, happen. Hope is powerful. It is what drives us to overcome.
If there was something I would not want to live without, it is hope. The community I now live in has been known for hopelessness, despair, a serious drug problem, and very few opportunities to improve one’s livelihood, especially amongst the youth and young adult population. Yet despite what anyone has said, and has seen, I have an inner belief and hope that things can actually change and become better.
I have an unending belief that the kingdom of God brings so much with it. Things like, hope, love, goodness, and freedom. Hope is something that helps us to know it is all worth fighting and working towards. It keep us focused until we to see things come into being.
In Matthew 11:12 we read, ‘From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.’ (NIV) Hope give the ability to fight for freedom against all odds. It gives strength to the regular person and turns them into an advocate for justice, the poor, and the oppressed.
Is hope something that anyone can have? It certainly is. Hope is available to everyone, despite the fact not everyone lives in it. It is something we can work for and train ourselves in. We can take on a more positive attitude which seems to somehow have an affect on our surroundings.
However, there is a hope that Christ brings that goes beyond any human ability. For humanity the belief that God does not exist robs us of the hope we have in anything but ourselves. If that is true hope is limited to our own resourcefulness.
This in no way diminishes the human responsibility of being hopeful and working to make the world a better place. As many people without faith in Jesus are hopeful and fight for change. I also have hope that people can help move society forward, despite our failings as humans at times. All of us are creative people made in the image of a creative God so why can we not expect good things.
Hope in Christ moves us to go beyond just belief in ourselves. It is something that makes us believe and ask for things we could never accomplish without God. In can cause us to live differently in all situations. It is the driving force to helps us get through adversity. While many attack the danger of faith, and it’s power to harm, this is indeed it’s redeeming message and power.
An example is 1 Thessalonians 4:13, It says, ‘And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. Even in the most extreme losses, in Christ, there is hope. Hope causes up to grieve differently. It causes us to face adversity differently. It causes us to live differently.
Hope gives us the power to believe that despite all odds God can do something. Even through pain, sorrow, helplessness may come, divine intervention is always possible. Also, that even though we face hardships God can use them to make us stronger, wiser, and equip us to be people of change.
The most optimistic people in the world should be those who’s faith is in Jesus. If they aren’t they need to examine themselves next to scripture. Jesus is our example of hope. He went through adversity, through hatred, jealousy, unimaginable pain, suffering, and death. Yet He overcame.
Hebrews, 12:2 is a great example, ‘We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.’ Hope helps us see what is ahead.
Hope in Jesus is a promise that just as He overcame, even overcoming death, that we to now can live with that hope also. Those who call themselves followers of Christ but are not living in hope, have taken their eyes off Him. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus because He is the source.
This is what distinguishes hope we all can have, to hope in Christ. They come from a different places. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 15:13 says, ‘I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Does hope work for everyone? Yes it does. We can’t mistake Hope for the removal of pain and obstacles. Just because we are hopeful it does not mean our circumstances change. They may, but they may not. Hope changes our view in the midst of them however. Hope changes our perspective. When we change our views, our actions, our words then the possibility of the world around us changing grows.
I have travelled to areas of the world and seen unimaginable poverty. I have been to countries where lives have been ripped apart. I have sat with the dying. At times life seems so unfair. There are those born into much, and those born into the world who seem to not even have a chance to live.
I never want to forget how blessed I am to live in a country where we have freedom, resources, healthcare, and a social system. That I do not live in fear of war and extreme prejudice. I have often wondered am I hopeful because I live a blessed life? What if I lived somewhere else? What if I was born in another country without these blessings.
Many years ago while on a humanitarian trip which we were working with Haitian communities I ran into despair. We were there with a group of young adults who were trying to help in the best way they knew how. Every night, with the team, we discussed the days events and what changes they should cause in us. We discussed ways How could be promote change and improvement in lives of others. These were all people full of life, who had plans, and were dreaming about the future
The next day we were talking to some of the young people in the community. One particular girl there was asked what her dream was in life? This seemed like an easy question to us, because we dream. This girl came from extreme poverty. She had been selling her body to the ‘wealthy’ North American men to make money to help her, and her family, survive. I can’t forget her response. It was nothing. It had never crossed her mind that life could be anything but her present circumstance. It was hopelessness. It is ugly.
Hope may be the best gift we can give to people. If all my faith in Jesus was just Hope, it would be worth living for. It is when people give up, that lives really fall apart. It is not when we fail, but when we stop trying that life begins to crumble. Hope picks people up. Hope leads people out.
This is what is hope does. It give a future to the perishing. No matter how long your present life is, one hour or ninety years, their is hope that both are just the beginning of a greater existence. The end is not the end, but rather a new beginning. Hope does not mean we don’t grieve, it means we face things knowing their is still something ahead.
Hope can change the attitude of the sick. Hope says you can be well. Hope in Jesus says healing can come. Hope says the worst the cancer or death can do to me is make me see Jesus face to face even sooner.
Hope for the broken says no matter how far you have fallen. Whether you have you have failed in life, in marriage, in careers, in family relationships things can be redeemed. Hope pushes you to the possibility of restoration.
In the end we must always remember what the source of this Hope is. It is in the Spirit of Christ. Jesus working in us makes hope grow. Christ’s resurrection is the sign of Hope. It is the final display needed to show victory of everything, even death, is now possible.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 1 Peter 1:3-6
Christ is the Hope of the world. Beautiful Hope.