Even many Christians today have lost their hope. We see what is going in the world. We see what is happening to our families. We see what is happening in our churches and even in our country. We become hopeless and we give in to that feeling of hopelessness.
The last thing that someone needs who is feeling hopeless is a brisk cheering- up talk and they do not need to be told to “snap out of it”. Let us love them by listening to them and we can pray with them and we can pray for them and perhaps even cry with them.
The events unfolding around the world today are another significant step closer to the conclusion of history as described in the scriptures. I am not seeking to sensationalize the political and military actions being taken but to share with you my conviction that we must not overlook their significance to the spiritual climate of the world. Many non-Christian people are sensing for the first time a genuine hopelessness. An anxiety as to how this escalating conflict will radically change life on this planet. A fear of increasing terrorist attacks, political fanaticism, global pandemic and social unrest. What hope can there possibly be for a better world for our children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren? Where can we find hope for the present, let alone our future? Where can our friends, family, neighbors. co-workers and people turn to for hope?
The Bible fully understands that hope is vital to all living people. In Proverbs 13:12 scripture tells us that Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
There are so many ways that HOPE is shattered in this day and age. Through broken bodies: sickness, disease, and disasters. Broken homes through divorces, violence, debt, and death. Through broken lives: drugs, alcohol, crime, desertion. Broken dreams: ambition, failure, defeats, disappointments. These all seem to be symptoms of our modern society and today they are affecting millions of people, depriving them of peace, happiness and ultimately hope.
Science tells us that “we can live forty days without food, eight days without water, four minutes without air, but only a few seconds without hope” But what do we really mean by HOPE?
In the Bible the word used in the Greek is Elpis and means ‘a favorable and confident expectation’. It has to do with a positive vision of the unseen and the future. Hope is not wishful thinking, or a vague ambition. Hope is not wanting things to turn out well, while remaining uncertain that they actually will. Hope is the absolute certainty we have that God is good and that His promises are true and amen. Hope is actually personalized in Jesus himself, He is our hope!
Colossians 1:27 27 tell us To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:…….Christ in you, the hope of glory.
If you read the New Testament, you will be challenged by those historical figures who are prominent in the New Testament. You see that their hope, even in the midst of gloom and doom, is unbelievable! They had more reasons to be hopeless than we do in this generation. When the Church first began the social, political and economic conditions were unbearable. Half of the people were slaves. Most of the people were hungry. They were paying more than half of whatever income they made to Imperial Rome. There were continuous rebellions, uprisings, protests of all kinds. History tells us that during the reign of Emperor Nero, Christians were executed by the thousands. Nero is reported to have smeared the bodies of Christians with pitch and set them on fire as torches for his garden parties. This is documented in history but the Christians did not let that stop them from maintaining. They radiated HOPE even in the midst of adversity! They talked about their hope in Jesus and they sang of their hope in Jesus. They experienced the love of God through His Son Jesus Christ. They had experienced His resurrection Power which was always transforming despair into hope, and death into life. They counted themselves fortunate to have suffered for the cause of Christ.
This world needs people with a confident hope. Not a misplaced, weak and fragile hope but a secure hope. The words of Jesus himself teach us that things are going to get worse before they get better, especially for the Christian.
Matthew 24:6 - 8 says And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Our Lord is trying to warn us so that we may be prepared. HE is saying -- see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must and will happen. (All the prophecies in the Old Testament were fulfilled). You see the reasons the world around us has for hopelessness are our very reasons for HOPE! We see these happenings as distressing as everybody else, yet we see a reason to them and what they are pointing towards. To convince others that there is hope we need ourselves to be convinced. God’s people are not expected to live dictated by world circumstances but by the principles and promises of God’s kingdom. We have the greatest hope of all … and HIS NAME IS JESUS!!!!
Remember, "We wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." (Titus 2:13)
Keep looking up!