It is hard to be hopeful these days. Bad news just keeps rolling down. We continue to read of the spread of Coronavirus and the rising death toll. We hear of a rise in violence, suicide, and depression, and we wonder if this is just the beginning of the long-term affects of social-distancing and pandemic threats. We see the political talking heads pointing blame at one another, which only shakes our confidence and heightens our fears.
In the middle of all of this, it is the roll of the Church, of every believer, to shine as a beacon of hope in a dark and dreary world.
Hope: it’s such a small yet powerful word.
We often use it rather casually. We may talk of a “fools hope;” like when you hope your team wins even though they’re on a 5 game losing streak. Or maybe hoping that they’ll have a better year than last year – if they even get to play (yes, I’m thinking specifically of my Royals).
Then there are things we hope for that are really an expression of deep desire. “I hope to see you soon!” a parent will write to their child, indicating that they will be working toward that goal.
So what are the things we are hoping for right now?
- I hope to stay healthy.
- I hope no one I know catches this virus. If they do, I hope they don’t suffer.
- I hope to go back to work soon. I hope I still have a job.
- I hope college will start again in the fall.
- I hope my marriage can survive this quarantine.
- I hope that the Church can come back together soon – and that people won’t stay home even after it is safe to assemble.
There are many things we may be hoping for today, but there is one hope to which we are called to share in Scripture. The way the world speaks about hope (wishing for something that may or may not have any guarantee of coming about) pales in comparison to what the Bible means when it speaks of hope. The Psalms make it very clear that our hope is in the Lord:
- Psalm 39:7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”
- Psalm 62:5 “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.”
- Psalm 71:14 “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.”
We put our hope in God, the one who is faithful, unchanging, and true. The Christian’s hope is established, strengthened, and encouraged in God’s Word. Christian hope is a confidence that something will come to pass because God has promised it will come to pass. Hebrews 11:1 teaches, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen.”
So what do we hope for?
The hope of Scripture rises above the day to day wishes and desires, and is a longing for the very presence of God Himself. Our hope goes far beyond sickness and health, poverty and riches. Our hope is to find ourselves in joyous fellowship with God through eternity. This fellowship with God is only possible because He has promised to save us, and has done so through the death and resurrection of Christ our Lord.
Ps. 119:81 says, “My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word.” Our hope is in the Salvation of the Lord, His deliverance of His people from sin, from despair, from the brokenness of this world.
This is what Paul speaks of in Titus 2:13, when he writes, we are “waiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Our hope in this age, and in the age to come, is that we will see Jesus Christ; that we will stand with Him in the Kingdom of God, robed in His righteousness, called by His name. Our hope is that the one who ascended in glory, who now reigns over all things at the right hand of God the Father, will one day come again in glory to bring all things into submission before Him. Our hope is that this Savior, who died to atone for our sins, will also care for us unto the very end, and will not lose one of those whom the Father has given.
This is our hope, and our hope does not put us to shame (Rom 5:5). Therefore we will “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and constant in prayer” (Rom 12:12). So beloved, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Rom 15:13).