I have a hope in God… that there is going to be a resurrection, both of the righteous and the unrighteous.–Paul, Acts 24:15 HCSB
Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.… For how great is his goodness, and how great his beauty!
But as for me, God’s presence is my good. I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, so I can tell about all You do.
Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, the sheep under His care.
Your Father knows [your needs]. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided for you. Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Zech. 9:12, 17 ESV; Ps.73:28 HCSB; Ps.95:6,7 HCSB; Luke 12:30-32 HCSB
I’m struck by what a difference it makes where our hopes are staked. When we’re really trusting God, the present circumstances don’t matter so much because they are not all there is. I know there’s a strong cultural trend right now to ‘live in the moment’, ‘be fully present’, and make the most of NOW. This has its merits. But sometimes, this is not enough to bring peace of mind. Consider the following scenarios. Without a focus beyond the moment these folks were in trouble!
God’s people are in a desert in want of WATER! They think they’re gonna die! Rather than trust their Shepherd with their needs they protest the wait and scheme about a return to slavery. They have not understood God’s ways. They’ve forgotten their great Hope. They will find no rest. (Ex.17)
God’s servant, Paul, is falsely accused by envious religious leaders and ends up in jail interminably. Instead of protesting, he shares his greatest hope at every opportunity, gaining audience with kings! It’s not about him.(Acts 25ff)
David is predestined to be the King of Israel but is still fleeing from the conniving King Saul who wants to see him dead! Hiding out in caves and foreign lands he waits and refuses every opportunity to bring about ‘justice’ and put himself on the throne. His hope in God is firmly fixed. (I Samuel)
Have you heard of Charles Templeton? He was once slated to be as famous an evangelist as Billy Graham (1940’s). But in the face of inexplicable suffering, modern “scientific” claims and the like he began to doubt. Gradually he allowed his reasoning to trump the Word of God until he came to renounce the hope he had once proclaimed. His 1996 book, Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith, came into my hands while sorting donated books at our local thrift store this week. What a sorry tale of abandoned hope.
Closer to home, two young church families have lost their fathers in our town this year. Their wives are left to face the valley of grief with little ones in tow. I’m praying that the sure hope of a coming Resurrection will anchor their hearts in this agonizing season, even while the God of hope walks with them through all the present moments.
These accounts remind me that it’s the tough times that show up where our hopes are anchored. Lousy harbors and poorly tied knots will do the job when all is calm. Meditating on the wonders of the present moment might even bring a certain peace of mind. But storms come. May we be counted amoung the faithful Hebrews 11 crew who endured all sorts of horrific things in this lifetime knowing they had a better hope coming!
To mix up the metaphor, may we run with endurance the racecourse especially marked out for us by keeping our eyes on Jesus, our Resurrected Saviour and our ever living High Priest!
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.Heb.4:14-16 ESV
Who else is there?
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”Jn.6:58 ESV
Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
Blessed is the one who is not offended by me. –JesusMatt.11:2-3 ESV
But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed, but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…I Pet.3:14-15
God grant that we be people marked by hope, beacons to the Resurrection and the Life!
P.S. I’m hoping to get back to regular posts here and would be very much encouraged to know you’ve stopped for a minute to read here today. ( :
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