Five Reasons to Hope

I don’t watch the news. I can’t stand to see the negativity, doom, and destruction portrayed there. Besides, as John Mayer says,

And when you trust your television
What you get is what you got
Cause when they own the information, oh
They can bend it all they want.[1]

There is not a reliably unbiased news source in this country, so even if I did want to watch the news just for the sake of being informed, there is no way I could know whether the information is accurate. Now, I know you haven’t read this far because you’re interested in my television viewing habits. You read the title, and you’re looking for hope. You know that you should be hopeful, but you just can’t find anything hopeful in this dark world.

Well, here’s the sad but very biblical truth: There is no hope in this world. We’re not commanded or even encouraged to put any hope in this world. But the happy, and also biblical, truth is that we can live in this world with hope! Do you see the difference? As Christians, we are commanded to be joyful, to be light in a dark world, and to follow after Christ no matter how hopeless things may seem to our jaded eyes. So today, I’d like to encourage you by sharing with you five reasons that I remain a hopeful Christian, even as I face the sorrow and hopelessness of this world every day.

My hope is in Christ.

What a relief to finally stop looking for hope in the world! For years I sought comfort, happiness, and contentment in things and people. I never found it. When Jesus Christ found me, rescued me, and breathed new life into me, I was forever changed. I began to see the world through His eyes of compassion, love, and grace. Things like anger, bitterness, and depression had to go because all those things lead to hopelessness. In two decades as a Christian, my Jesus has molded and shaped me through painful trials and He continues to do so today. My hope is in Him alone.

The power of the Holy Spirit lives in me.

I don’t walk through this terrible world alone. The same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives inside me. So when I’m fearful about the wretched state of the generation coming up after mine, I don’t have to worry or fret because the Spirit speaks the truth into my heart. He reminds me that my loving Father knew the hearts of this generation long before it came to be. He reminds me of the wretched state in which He found me, and that He will find and transform wretches in every generation until He comes back. The Spirit strengthens me to resist the temptation to worry or become angry about the state of this nation and world. He brings Scripture to my mind to encourage me. His power renews my strength.

I have the one and only message of hope to share with the world.

How sad it is that those of us who know the only real hope are too disgusted and despairing to share it! Many Christians I know walk around just lamenting the sad state of the world.  They’re so discouraged, they no longer even bother to try to engage the lost people around them. We of all people should be smiling, gracious, and interested in the people we meet each day. The tattooed furnace repairman,  the purple-haired waitress, and the transgendered grocery clerk all have one thing in common: They are image bearers of God who were created for His glory, and they need what we have. Can’t we at least try to make them want it? We should have a “glow” about us that lets the world know that we are different, we are joyful, and we have THE message of hope!

I have daily opportunities to love and serve the people in the world.

This is the sequel to that message of hope. It is communicated as we love the people we meet in our daily lives. We need to stop waking up and seeing the new day as something to get through. Instead, let’s see it as an opportunity to make a difference in the Name of Jesus. Why should the Samaritans be the ones to reach out and help, while the Christians walk on the other side of the road?  We need to be active in our communities, reaching out to those in need and making the most of every opportunity. Everything from opening a door for a neighbor to full-time volunteer service is an opportunity to reach the world for Christ.

Jesus is coming back.

Among all these reasons for hope, this is the best one, so I saved it for last. Our Savior is coming back. It may be in our lifetime and it may not, but His return is certain. We are sojourners here, foreigners in a foreign land. No wonder we long for home! But we must not get so caught up in that longing that we miss the fact that some of the responsibility for who goes to heaven with Him and who is cast into Hell lies with us. Yes, God is sovereign in election, but aren’t we also called to go into all the world and preach this great Gospel that we claim? How are we doing with that? Are we leaving it to the pastors and missionaries? They are certainly vital to the worldwide spread of the Gospel, but they don’t know our neighbors and they don’t shop in our communities.

The truth is we are all missionaries, whether we are teaching Truth to foreign nations or engaging the store clerk in conversation. As we cultivate relationships with those around us, we create opportunities to share what we have with a watching world. My Savior is coming back, and I want my neighbor to know Him! I want to bring glory to His Name as I wait for His return, by being known as someone who is joyful and hopeful, in spite of the dismal condition of the world.

So, the next time you are tempted to allow your countenance to fall in response to this fallen world, think of the words to this hymn, and remember that this is not over yet. The world may seem to be consumed with sin and despair, but it still belongs to Him.

This is my Father’s world:
Oh, let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world,
The battle is not done:
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.[2]

 

[1] John Mayer, Waiting on the World to Change, Columbia Records, 2006

[2] This Is My Father’s World, 1901, Maltbie D. Babcock, Public Domain

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