Understanding the hope that will not fail us
This blog series is focused on one powerful, audacious truth. We have enough. I am urging us to cultivate a heart that embraces this truth, believes this truth and lives with its assurance. If God is trustworthy to supply all of our needs, we must believe we have enough of what God requires for us to live abundant lives.
This week, in light of the unrelenting tide of disturbing and discouraging news that sweeps over us daily, I want to propose that we, as followers of Jesus, have enough…hope. As soon as we use the word ‘hope’ we run the risk of relegating our thinking to some future state of blessedness that transcends the unpleasant realities of our present day. Hope, we believe, is for what might happen tomorrow. We long for a better future, for a time of peace and moral sanity. Hope can have this anticipatory nature, this yearning for a ‘someday’ that makes this day something to be endured.
The first thing we must say is that this is not the only Biblical view of the hope of the follower of Jesus. While there is a sense of a seeing a future hope for all that God will do, we are also called to a living, present hope. Our hope is Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ is present, living and acting in and through us every day. That includes this day!
Our pastor reminded us this past Sunday that Jesus’ words to the thief on the cross were not a promise of some future state of paradise, but a present reality that came crashing into the scene of horrific torture and pain. “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Not tomorrow, or when we die, but now, today, at this moment.
To be in the presence of Jesus is paradise. To hope in Jesus is to live with Him and He with us. The question is whether that kind of present-day, in-the-moment hope is enough for you and me? A more pointed way to ask it is this, “is being with Jesus…enough?”
Last week seventeen beautiful lives were ended by one deeply troubled young man in a Florida school. Surrounding that story were headlines of bitter accusations from political leaders on both sides, Christian shaming by so-called celebrities, increasing nuclear tensions, the continuing sexual abuse epidemic, and a litany of examples of the steepening moral decline of our nation. In the midst of it all, is the hope and promise of ‘Jesus with us’ enough? Is it enough to provide us the peace that passes all understanding? To be anxious for nothing? (Philippians 4:6-7) Is it enough to encourage us to take up our cross and follow Him? (Matthew 16:24) Is it enough for us to rejoice and be glad when people insult us, persecute us and falsely say all kinds of evil against us because we follow Jesus? (Matthew 15:11-12)
We are a nation desperately in need of a hope that will not fail us. Yet every other promise of hope has. Political solutions to social ills continually fail us. The secular humanist promise of a human-centered utopia is an illusion. New Age spiritualism is a hapless journey into our inner being that ultimately ends in despair. Every philosophy or ideology that throws us back upon ourselves will leave us without hope, because we are a people in need of hope from something greater than ourselves. Government won’t solve our problems and human-centered philosophies are vacuous fantasies. The Humanist Manifesto II states, “No God will save us, we must save ourselves.” If that is our hope, no wonder we are a society in total disarray.
As followers of Jesus, we must travel a very different path. Ours is a journey of hope that shines a beacon into the darkness that surrounds us. Let’s be people who bear witness to the world that Jesus is our only hope, and as that hope, He is always enough. Let’s be people who are joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12). People who hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).
King David reminds us that
“the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love” (Psalm 33:18).
“I will wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope” (Psalm 130:5).
This week, pray for the Holy Spirit to overwhelm your spirit with the truth that Jesus is our hope, He is all we need, and in His presence, regardless of what is happening in the world around us, we have enough.
Prayer Requests for the Center for Steward Leader Studies:
- Please pray for funding partners to help us complete our third phase of work in China
- Please pray for Scott’s trip to the East Coast coming up March 1st. Many important meetings and time with board members and partners.