Today, I was searching on Google News for hope. That sounds pretty desperate, doesn’t it?
Well, I wasn’t searching for hope on Google; I was searching for the way hope appears in the news. And I found these headlines:
- Syrian Peace Talks: A Lot of Posturing, Some Signs of Hope – A reference to the last day of talks in an effort to bring some semblance of peace to war-torn Syria
- Casino Proposal Brings Hope For Jobs, Concerns About Crime And Traffic – On the debate in the Hartford, Connecticut, area, over the possibility of a new casino
- After Deadly Italian Avalanche, a Glint of ‘Hope’ – A story about some puppies found, alive, in the hotel covered up by an avalanche
What do all of these 3 uses of ‘hope’ have in common? They all express a desire, a wish, a heartfelt longing for something to happen. A war to end. A casino to fix what ails an economically-deprived community. A deep yearning that underneath the crush of snow, there’s still the possibility of life. All 3 point to a desire that, frankly and even tragically, may not be fulfilled.
So often, the hope we express is rooted in nothing more than our deepest desires. And reality, and tragedy, often keep hope from turning into something more.
In the midst of such desires for hope, we read in 1 Peter 1.3-5:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (RSV).
Through Jesus, we have a hope. Not simply a wish, or a desire. Not a dream, or an unfulfilled longing. Through the resurrection of Jesus, our hope is alive. It’s a living, breathing, count-on-it kind of hope. And if it’s living, then it not only lives IN us, it also lives THROUGH us.
This is not to say that life is easy. Hope isn’t some childish fantasy that pretends as if the world isn’t a difficult place. It is. But a living hope is alive not in spite of the brokenness, but in the middle of it.
I love how Craig Barnes describes this hope we have:
Hope arises out of the hard truth of how things are. Christians will always live carrying in one hand the promises of how it will be and in the other the hard reality of how it is. To deny either is to hold only half the truth of the gospel.
We who follow Jesus are hopeful people. No matter which way the winds of culture, or politics, or even religion may blow, the hope of Jesus is unchanging. No matter how difficult life gets, or how challenging it is to live for Jesus, the hope he gives is unchanging. And with this as our foundation, we don’t have to sit in our church buildings waiting for that hope to be revealed – we get to go live it, and give it. For if hope is alive, then shouldn’t WE be alive? Shouldn’t it overflow from our lives, to those who are hoping there’s more to life than the daily grind, or the grinding discouragement that fills the days and lives of so many people?
For we have a living hope. Is it living in you?