Hope is a powerful, if not the most powerful, force in the world. One of the most beautiful charms of children is their delighted expectation and curiosity about the world around them. It is not surprising that the Lord Jesus tells us that this is kingdom stuff – there is no entrance without such innocent anticipation. Unfortunately, life’s disappointments and the reasoning mind strip our souls of so much of that enchantment. Yet it lurks beneath the surface and can be nurtured – especially by familiarity with God and His promises. It was so fascinating to be part of an astronomy-minded migration earlier this year to get to the best place to watch the eclipse. People were excited, expectant, and partying as they experienced the unusual and rather mysterious natural phenomenon that took place. It reminded me of childhood gatherings to watch with curiosity the progress of a caterpillar or some other lowly creature. We would oooh and ahhh with appreciation and our imaginations would soar. I think this is a wonderful picture of hope – some unexperienced possibility that enchants our hearts! Believers have good reason that bolsters their expectation!
Looking around we see evil forces making easy prey of people who are losing their hope. Distrust of tradition, government, and humanity in general is breeding hatred, division and violence. Believers have, or should have, a radically different mindset. The world was a mess two thousand years ago when the first humans believed the message of a resurrected Man Who spoke of and demonstrated a different kind of life. The resilience and courage of the first believers stemmed from their hope for immortality, bolstered by the infusion of grace resulting from a rebirth – a new nature derived from the Eternal One. They were now included in the unseen realm that was always an intuited possibility in their hearts. (“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart…” Ecclesiastes 3:11) They in turn lived out love for the One Who loved them extravagantly. They followed his example and call to live for an unseen reality that He had revealed. (“…Christ Jesus our hope.” 1 Timothy 1:1) They turned their brutal world upside down with their hope!
A true believer realizes that his own heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, remembering that he too once “…lived in this world without God and without hope”. The humility of trusting Another for rightness empowers the kind of hope that reaches out to others with the same unmerited love that one receives. The Christian is energized for positivity and service because his hope is not in what he sees. He is not determined by outward measures of success or failure in pushing back against the encroaching darkness, knowing that his efforts are strategies of an unseen realm. He must be exercised to push back the darkness in his own heart, in humility seeking forgiveness for his own love of evil and forgiving the offenses of others. To say this is a battle doesn’t even begin to cover it, but as one looks to Jesus, mankind’s only hope and rescue, energy for life and love bubbles up and overflows. “And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:5 NLT
Law and religion can only aspire to patch up a broken world. Jesus conquered it! Knowing Him gives perspective to the oppression of the strong tyrannizing the weak, the evil taking advantage of the good, the right being presented as wrong. It grieves the heart, but tyranny will end! The righteous will be rewarded as the tyrants are punished. Living in hope is living purposefully for the kingdom of God right in the midst of this bent world. Infuse hope and live love! “We keep getting reports on your steady faith in Christ, our Jesus, and the love you continuously extend to all Christians. The lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope.” Colossians 1:5 Message
Out of the saltshaker and into the world!
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What a beautiful sight for the worn and weary eye
The glimmering light in the corner of a broken sky
Hope sweet hope like a star burning bright
When the sun goes down and the fears begin to fly
Hope’s not giving up
Hope’s not giving up
In a cold dark night she’s not giving
Not giving up
Hold on tight this city’s about to break
In the middle of the night lying there wide awake
Hope sweet hope how much more can she take
Being our strength when our hearts are out of faith
Hope is with me in my time of trouble
When it all comes crashing down she will stay
By my side digging through the rubble
She’s not giving up – not giving up – not giving up