Is There Hope To Be Found? Yes! says Jesus Christ (and Winston Churchill)
“[We are] born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” ~ 1 Peter 1:3
If you’re not careful these days, it’s easy to free-fall into despair.
Watch or read too much news, you can almost feel your soul sinking inside itself. Stress-relief measures (like deep breathing and aroma therapy candles) that used to work when the calamity was the loss of your sports team or not being able to find “Hamilton” tickets, now seem gimmicky. This is no 1st-World or 3rd-World problem, this is a World-problem the likes of which anyone younger than 80 has never seen before.
So it’s a legitimate question to ask: Is there any hope to be found here?
Hope is one of the many reasons that I follow Jesus Christ. This is the Lord who said to us, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” (John 14:1). This is the faith that says, “These three things will last forever – faith, hope and love.” (1 Cor.13:13, NLT). This is the religion that teaches us to stare down death as a defanged foe, because nothing, not even death, can separate us from the love of God in Christ (1 Cor.15:54-55, Romans 8:38-39).
So why should we have hope in a world gone mad? Here are five reasons to have hope that our faith and Scriptures teach.
Every day – even the bad ones – are filled with blessings to sustain us.
“The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” (Psalm 33:5)
So I can’t go and introduce myself to Shenandoah National Park just now, as I was planning on doing soon. No matter. God has placed more beauty in my own backyard than I know what to do with. Last night, two bald eagles stopped to floss their teeth in a tree above our house. And the freshly mown lawn looks and smells beautiful. Flowers are popping out everywhere. Our cats continue to be a source of hilarity for us. Watch this hilarious Youtube video, “Working From Home With CATS!”
There are more good days than bad ones.
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)
I’ve been alive for 21,095 days. (Click here to find out where your own timeclock is.) I can testify before God and heaven that most of those days have been good ones. Sure, there’ve been some dooseys. Long stretches of sickness. And depression too. Great disappointments: A lifetime of psoriasis. Infertility. Four Viking Super Bowl losses (Who will save me from this body of death!?) And there are days out there I’d rather not see come. There’ll be tragedy-days. And heart-ache days. And hospital-days. And somewhere out there is my death-day. No matter. There are more good days than bad ones, and I will not allow those few dark days to steal the light from all the others. Besides…
All my days lived on earth will one day be swallowed up by the Day of days, when I will see my King of kings face to face.
“Wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor.1:7-8)
How quickly the pain of childbirth is forgotten when the baby at last arrives. And how quickly will the sorrows of this earthly life vanish away when real Joy is suddenly there standing before us? – the One who will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and banish death, and “neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the old things have passed away.” (Rev.21:4). The ultimate hope, the true hope, the real hope of following Christ is located here. It’s the single most important question you and I must answer: Is there a God or isn’t there? And if there is a God then eternity await us. As for me and my house, I will serve the One who claimed to be the Resurrection and the Life. (Joshua 24:15; John 11:25-26)
In this life, God has the power to overturn disaster at the snap of a finger.
“God my king is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan…You split open springs and brooks; you dried up ever-flowing streams. Yours is the day, yours also the night.” (Psalm 74:12-15)
Most of the fear we’re feeling right now is fear of the unknown. And fear of the Worst. We’re filled with What ifs. “What if I lose my job?” “What if I test positive?” “What if these really are the endtimes?”
But the Bible is filled with stories of worst-case scenarios that God redeemed and turned around for good in a hurry. The tales of the kings of Israel and Judah show repeatedly how things can turn around in just a single generation if a good king arises and the people return to God.
People proclaimed doom and gloom for America in the 1970s, then the 80s dawned and everything turned around. After 9/11 many thought that was it. World War III, here we come. But God spared us. After 2008, few could have imagined a recovery from that abyss, yet this past decade, for all its problems, has been a time of peace and prosperity.
The point is, We don’t know what we don’t know. Winston Churchill who led England and the free world through the darkest days of the Nazi scourge when the very foundations of Western Civilization hung by a thread, said, “You can never tell whether bad luck may not after all turn out to be good luck.”
So pray, people, pray. Plead for God’s mercy. (“In wrath, remember mercy!” – Habakkuk 3:2). Pray for this nation to repent and turn to God. (I found it encouraging that the word “Prayer” was presumably one of the most searched for words the other day.) Pray that God intervenes and shines his favor upon us once again. Be like Abraham, pleading for Sodom that God would spare it, at least for the sake of the righteous within her (Genesis 18:22-33).
And steel yourself to keep on keeping on. “If you’re going through hell, keep going,” Churchill also said. Though this quote of his is more eloquent: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”
So my friend, choose to live in hope this day. To live in hope does not mean there isn’t a long struggle before us. To live in hope does not mean we bury our heads in the sand and ignore reality. (Another Churchill cracker: “Nourish your hopes but do not overlook realties…You must look at facts because they look at you.”)
But to live in hope does mean that we live confident in the promise that joy wins because we’ve seen the end of the story, and God wins.
So with Churchill I will say: “For myself, I am an optimist. It does not seem to be much use being anything else.”
“Weeping may tarry for the night but joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5).
In the peace of Christ that passes all understanding,
Bear Clifton, writer and screenwriter, is the pastor of BridgeWay Community Church in California, Maryland. His blogs, screenplays and devotionals can be enjoyed at his ministry website: trainyourselfministry.com and his writing website: blclifton.com. Bear is also the author of “Train Yourself To Be Godly: A 40 Day Journey Toward Sexual Wholeness”, “Ben-Hur: The Odyssey”, “A Sparrow Could Fall”, and his latest – “Living Under The Cross”, a collection of essays on the Beatitudes – all available through Amazon.