Day 3: Hope for a Hopeless World
To a world which Paul described as “having no hope and without God” (Ephesians 2:2), came the church with a bold affirmation:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has given us birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” -1 Peter 1:3
There is nothing more “Christian” than hope. Along with faith and love, it is one of the principle graces of the Christian life. The Bible is the most hope-filled book ever written. It says we are a “people of hope” who are all “saved by hope.” Our God is a “God of hope,” and the Scripture that reveals him was “written for our encouragement that we might have hope.” From the perspective of the Bible, there is no greater good than hope. It is in that spirit that we call the Point community to be a hopeful people.
If we are to answer that call, there are some things we need to understand about Christian hope. Unlike “human hope,” Christian hope is something far more than mere optimism. Those cheerful expressions we so often hear— “all will be well,” “look on the bright side,” “hope for the best” —are mostly just sentiment. Divorced from reality or any sense of destiny, they are nothing more than wishful thinking—vain attempts to sustain us in the face of unbearable disasters and unrealized dreams.
Such hope is a fanciful wish that all will end well. But it doesn’t, not always, and because it doesn’t, many people have given up hope. The paths of life are strewn with the victims of misplaced hope. People who have been burned by a relationship, betrayed by a friend, disillusioned by a cause gone sour, disappointed by a personal failure, left broken by sickness, left alone by death. With great expectations, we set out to “seize life” only to discover that life has a better hold on us than we do on it. Many of our hopes are simply beyond our ability to make them reality.
Christian hope, however, is not based on the schemes and dreams of men but upon the promise and power of God. It is not a hope in the future alone but in the God who holds the future. As longs our hope is founded in Him, it will never let us down. Or, as Paul reminds us, “No one who trusts in God will ever be disappointed . . . no one” (Romans 10:11).
The blessings of hope are many, and they have implications both for this life and for the life to come. When we look at hope, we usually see it in the future tense. What we often fail to see is that what we hope for in the future has a lot to do with what we practice in the present. C.S. Lewis said it well in his book Christian Behavior: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world, were those same Christians who thought the most of the world to come.”
So, as one who is bound for eternity, let us live each day purposely and hopefully unto the salvation of the hopeless and to the glory of God.
Written by Dr. Steve Hooks, Professor of Biblical Studies