Hope: pie in the sky or a firm foundation under our feet?
The word hope is often used but how does it stack up to the hope Christians have. I can remember hoping for many things over the years and I would be surprised if you haven’t hoped for many things too. Things like, “I hope it’s a sunny day”, or “I hope ……. don’t drop in today because I’m just too busy”. How regularly do you hear someone else say something like, “I hope my team wins” or “I’m running late I hope I don’t miss the bus/train?” Unfortunately these sorts of statements of so called hope are nothing more than wishful thinking. There is no foundation on which these hopes are based other than optimism. I think each of the above could easily and more precisely be expressed something like this, “It would be good if…” or perhaps “it would be nice if…”
One particular time I can remember about hoping for something with as much effort and sincerity I could muster just didn’t work out that well. I was about 14 at the time, my brother Bill had lost his driving licence and his Morris 1100 (a car for those that don’t know) was sitting in the garage with fuel in the tank and the keys in the house. Mum and dad both worked and I regularly got home from school and was on my own or with a mate or two for an hour or so (if you think this is a recipe for mischief your right).
On this particular occasion (which I must say was not the first time) Duncan, Chris and I set about our little time trial of reversing down the drive, coming back to the garage, swinging into the little spot on the right, backing to garage, going back down the drive, backing back to the little spot near the house and then pulling back into the garage. Sounds like fun, well it was until one of us (me) backed into the house and squashed the downpipe and bumped the house a little. Quick response required, car back in garage, keys back on hook, Duncan and Chris were gone and I hid the problem by jiggling a plant to obscure the damage from sight. And I hoped Dad wouldn’t see it. You guessed it he did see it, and I was in all sorts of trouble. False hope based on nothing but self-interest and a little fear.
I’m not saying don’t hope, what I am saying is don’t confuse your hope in Christ by reducing it to wishful thinking. In a book titled 666 And All That the co-authors assert there are 4 fundamental Christian hopes these being, the return of Christ, righteous judgment and justice, resurrection of the body and the recreation of new heaven and new earth. As the chapter closes and they begin to explain a little deeper they remark, “This, in a nutshell, is the basic shape of biblical hope (page 15).” While these aspects of the faith clearly look forward to a time to come the certainty of our hope in no way lessens our current obligations in addressing the brokenness of the world in which we live. But when life is hard and our prayers seem unanswered. Consider the words of the writer to the Hebrews, “For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against himself, so that you may not grow weary and loose heart (12:3).” The verse from an old hymn below sums it up.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
Where is your hope and trust?
Blessings Pastor Stewart