07 November 2017

Finding Hope

Finding hope can be hard.  Keeping hope alive can be harder.  We watch the news in horror far too often.  We struggle with personal problems and fears.  For some those struggles are like the occasional thunderstorm, for some they are like a relentless rain.  Our minds are continually engaged with the reality of suffering, whether of others or our own.  

If we have any awareness of history, we know that human suffering is not new to any generation.  The first family in the Bible experienced a domestic murder, and it has never ceased.  People hurt others and themselves.  So much dysfunction.  So much brokenness.  

Yet even when we get a lull from the carnage blowing up our Twitter feed, we still struggle in daily life with the lack of resources, addictions, abuse, relational dysfunction and the material and social gap between the rich and poor.  And we can lose hope. 

But what is hope exactly?  Hope is a feeling.  It is a good feeling coming from the expectation of good things to come.  It is a feeling that has the ability to redirect discouragement as merely a temporary setback, and it will not give in to despair.  It causes us to be resilient.  But it is also more than this.  Beyond the feeling, which can fluctuate greatly, it is a confidence of good things to come in spite of hurt, disappointment, loss, lack, and pain.  It is a confidence that can persist even when material life is uncertain or even disastrous.  

Hope as a feeling and a confidence is always founded on something.  And our hope is only as strong as that source.  So, the question is this: What am I resting my hope on?  Is it the government?  Is it my family?  Is it my own strength and ability?  Is it my savings account, pension or 401K?  And what happens when my source of hope suddenly falls apart?

In a Christian worldview hope is built on the revealed truth that our existence is credited to our Creator, who purposed a design for our lives.  At the heart of this design is our purpose to know God and find our satisfaction in Him now and forever.  Furthermore, this purpose is only to be discovered and realized through faith in Jesus Christ.  Yet the human brokenness around us and in our own lives causes us often to lose hope.  But in those moments our search for hope can lead us to the right source.  Hardship can be the catalyst for embracing the truth and hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Or, that same hardship can lead us down a path of self destruction and despair.  

According to the Bible, our brokenness is the result of sin.  And sin is the willful disobedience of God's commands.  God has revealed that this reality of sin has impacted all creation.  Sin has corrupted God's original design, including every person's heart, mind and will.  Yet, Jesus is about recovering that original design.  Through him death was conquered and a way was made to have forgiveness of sin and favor with God.  This is the good news that gives a confident hope in our lives.

If you're tired of the brokenness in your life - whatever that may be - then consider what God has revealed in Jesus and His Word.  You may be trying to do your best, yet on the inside you feel the hopelessness. It's easy to try to find purpose and hope in material things and in relationships.  And for a while it seems to work.  But in the end, only confidently knowing that all is right with the One who created you will give you true and lasting peace, contentment and hope.

If you're ready to embrace the hope that is in the gospel of Jesus Christ, talk to someone you know who believes this.  This Sunday, go to a worship service where you know the message of Jesus will be explained and where you will have the opportunity to respond.  And you will find hope and so much more.

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