Day 4: A Life that Expresses Hope
With each new school year, new questions may arise, as well as dreams and goals that we want to achieve. And sometimes, without thinking, we slowly begin to map out what the ideal year can look like for us. I had the opportunity to spend this past January through June in Nottingham, England, with a college ministry, and I had all of my goals and questions lined up and ready to go for this experience. I felt completely prepared for the next five months.
There was one day where I was spending time with some students and another staff member, and a student that attended our events asked me this, “What exactly is the main purpose of Christian outreach?” Considering all that I have learned and have been told over the years, this was not an easy question for me to answer, and hearing it from the mouth of someone who was not a Christian made it tougher!
Luckily someone on the staff stepped in and said, “Well, at the end of the day, one of the things that Christians stand for above anything else is hope.” Wise words.
I have found that the hope we have in Jesus Christ can give us confidence and perseverance. It helps us persevere knowing that, when things do not go our way, we worship a God who is powerful enough to turn the bad things into something good and will grow us through the experience. It also gives us the confidence to live a life that is fully engaged, totally intentional, and overflowing whimsy and joy knowing that God is in control. This is how Bob Goff says it in his book Love Does,
Living a life fully engaged and full of whimsy and the kind of things that love does is something that most people plan to do, but along the way they just kind of forget. Their dreams become one of those “we’ll go there next time” deferrals. The sad thing is, for many there is no “next time” because passing on the chance to cross over is an overall attitude toward life rather than a single decision.
I think Bob is saying that living a life that expresses hope takes work and effort; it’s not easy! People will try to view life through many lenses, like our own personal struggles, social media or the local news. However, we as Christians have the daily opportunity through the risen Jesus Christ to view the world through his eyes, a world he was willing to die for. To be willing to love the “unlovable,” comfort the hurting and put our arms around those who walk through this world alone. This is why Peter calls it living hope! (1 Peter 1:3)
Each year comes with its own beauty and struggles, but I hope that this year we all can experience growth and discover ways to love ourselves and others just a bit more.
Written by Bryant Stinson, Senior Biblical Studies and Preaching Major