THE 2 THINGS THAT ARE GUARANTEED TO GIVE YOU HOPE WHEN THE WORLD SEEMS BLEAK
We are in the midst of a moment that could change our society forever. Perhaps these changes will be beneficial. Perhaps a greater society can come out of the turmoil. But more than likely, if we continue down this path, it will descend into a society that we do not recognize.
This isn’t a political diatribe. I have come to despise politics. For generations, many Americans have put their hope in a political party or a politician hoping that they will do what they have promised and improve our way of life. But it hasn’t happened. There is no hope in politics.
Many of us have put our hope for a brighter future in our education. We want our kids to do well in their academic pursuits and go to the best colleges. Pursuing knowledge through education is a noble endeavor. But there is no hope in our education.
Others have put their hope for a future in the hands of financial gain. When the stock market is roaring to record numbers many will see a bright future. When jobs numbers look good then we see stability. When our own bank accounts are growing then we see a better life and lifestyle ahead. And then it all disappears in a matter of weeks. There is no hope in financial gain.
There are still some who place their hope for a future on social changes. I am fully in support of many of those changes. I agree that there are deep-seated issues within our American society that need attention and change. Racism. Income inequality. Women’s inequality. The devastation of abortion. All of these things need to change. So people fight for change… and then they just end up fighting. There is no hope in social change.
We seek truth. But what exactly is truth? Everyone has an opinion and in today’s climate we all have a platform to express that opinion that could potentially reach great numbers of people. I appreciate that we have that platform. This blog is no different. This is my opportunity and my platform to share my own thoughts and musings on any particular subject. But we as a people are terrible arbiters of truth. What I say may be in total opposition to your beliefs or positions. My hope is to express truth in my thoughts. My hope is that we can find common ground and unite as a people for a better future. But there is no hope in what society defines as truth.
Freedom is our greatest pursuit as a culture. The rights that we stand for as a country are at the core of who we are. But those qualities that have defined us as a country have now begun to splinter us as a people. Freedom for some is the right to do anything that we want, say anything that we want, earn as much as we can, and live the way that we want to live… so long as it’s moral and doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s freedoms. Freedom for others is the right to rise up and seek change. The right to choose to end a life in abortion because it’s just not the right time to become a parent. The right to take what someone has worked hard for and distribute it to others so that we are all on equal footing. There is no hope in what we call freedom.
As a people, our society seems bleak. It seems uncertain. It seems hopeless. Yet, here we are… still hopeful that we will see improvement in the way of lives for all people.
The good news is that there is hope. It’s just not where most of us place our priorities in seeking hope. While most of us seek power, true hope is in submission. While most of us seek wealth, true hope is in generosity. While most of us seek praise or self promotion, true hope is in humility. There is hope… it’s just not where most of us are looking.
True hope doesn’t come from wealth, politics, or social justice. True hope comes from truth. Truth can only be found in Scripture. You may balk at that idea. You may say that just because something is true for me doesn’t mean it’s true for you. But if it’s based on individuals then it’s not truth. It’s preference or opinion. Truth is absolute. It can only be one thing. There is no room for difference of opinion. Truth is truth. Period.
The truth of Scripture points us to hope. It is the story of the love God has for His people and there are really two things that should give every human being hope.
1. The cross. The cross was an ugly and despicable form of capital punishment. Criminals were left to hang on a cross just waiting to die while people walked by. It was humiliating and inhumane. A criminal on a cross would hang there until they couldn’t hold themselves up anymore. Then they would slump and suffocate. It was barbaric.
Scripture tells us that all of us are criminals in a sense. We are all separated from the love of God because we all want our own definition of freedom and truth. Because of our selfishness we are sentenced to death. Romans 6:23 states it plainly, “For the wages of sin is death”.
We deserve a death as humiliating as that of death on a cross because we are selfish people. The proof of that selfishness is playing out on our TV sets everyday. When a justified movement for justice is hijacked for political purposes and personal gain, that is selfish. The proof is also played out in our lives everyday. When our motives are to prove one side wrong and our own opinions right, that is selfish. When we dismiss other’s fears and concerns as being unreasonable, that is selfish. The point… we are selfish and the love of self and preservation of self is at the root of all evil. We deserve death according to Scripture. And deep down we all know it.
But there is hope in the cross. The death we deserved was taken by Jesus. Only because Jesus was God in the flesh. Only because Jesus was perfect and lived a sinless life. Only because He is who He says He is can there be hope in the cross. The hope is that Jesus died the humiliating death we deserve so that we can live a life of freedom from ourselves and our own selfishness.
Romans 5:8 tells us this, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is where true hope is found.
2. The resurrection. Someone taking our place in death is just the beginning. If death is the end then is there really any hope. The hope comes from the truth that this is not the end. There is life that is abundant and eternal. Death was overcome. Jesus told His followers that He would rise again in three days. They probably thought He was crazy. But then He did it.
In Mark 16:6, when the disciples discovered Jesus’ empty tomb there was an angel waiting on them who said… “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.”
Jesus had called His shot. He told them He would rise again… and then He did it. I don’t know about you, but if someone tells me they are going to raise themselves from the dead and then does it… I’m going to be with that guy. And this wasn’t just a legend. He was seen by hundreds of people who gave witness to the truth that Jesus had risen from the dead. There is hope in that.
These, of course, aren’t the only two things that give us hope from Scripture. But these demonstrate the love God has for us and the lengths He is willing to go to give us hope and a future. The hope comes from the second part of Romans 6:23 when Paul writes, “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
It is that hope that makes our current circumstances bearable. Romans 10:9 tells us that hope is available to all people… “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Saved simply means this… you will have hope, you will have purpose, and you will have a future. All of the wrongs you have ever committed will be erased. You will be free. And you will be given the power of God through the Holy Spirit.
Maybe you are pursuing hope in politics, social change, wealth, or power. Maybe you just want to seek happiness or freedom. You will fail. Think about it… can you give an example in your life when you found hope in any of these things that lasted for more than a brief moment in life?
We cannot find hope in any of the issues of our day. But we can find hope in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is the only thing that can truly change the course of our society. Maybe you think this is a bunch of hooey. That’s ok. But I can attest to the fact that He changes lives. He changed mine. That is where I find my hope and purpose.
Maybe you’re curious about how all this works. Reach out anytime. I would love to share with you what hope really looks like. You can reach me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Pastor Greg