On Saturday I attended a lovely brunch at my church. The room was strung with twinkly lights, paper lanterns and beautiful snowflakes. The candlelight flickers from tables laden with Christmas goodies. Two incredible women shared some powerful, encouraging words, but what struck me the most was their insights on hope. Hope is something that we talk about often around this time of year. Many of the Christmas songs we hear have a message of hope. But what is hope, particularly Biblical hope?
Ordinarily when we use the word hope, we express uncertainty rather than certainty. We typically express one of the following three things. A desire for something good in the future, something in the future that we desire, and the basis or reason for thinking that our desire may indeed be fulfilled.Biblical hope, on the other hand, is not just a desire for something good in the future, but rather...
Biblical hope has moral certainty in it. When the word says, “Hope in God!” it does not mean, “Cross your fingers.” It means, to use the words of William Carey, ‘Expect great things from God.”
There are many things that I "hope" for in the future. That I will raise fearless children that love Jesus, that Nathaniel and I will be able to build a beautiful home on acreage together, that I will be able to do an ironman triathlon, and that I will visit Morocco, Turkey, Rome, Paris, and an island in the South Pacific. While these are lovely things to hope for, there is no certainly that they will happen. My hope in Jesus, however IS certain. It is, perhaps the only thing in my life that is certain. I know that my heavenly father HAS a plan and that his plans and purposes WILL be fulfilled.
I love how one of my favorite authors, C.S Lewis, breaks it down....
“Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise."" - C.S Lewis
“At present we are on the outside… the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the pleasures we see. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get “in”… We will put on glory… that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch.
We do not want to merely “see” beauty–though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.
We all long for something more, whether we are willing to admit it to ourselves or not. Nearly every faith I can think of has a theory about what happens to us when pass on. Honestly, eternity is something that baffles me. Everything I know eventually deteriorates. The2nd Law of Thermodynamics confirms that there is a universal law of decay. And yet, somewhere in the deepest parts of ourselves,we know that there is something more than just this physical, temporary life. It is as though the knowledge of eternity is hardwired into us.
I know that my life on this earth is fleeting. Just a beautiful blip in time. I can't help but think of the generations that have gone before me and slipped away. My time will someday also come to an end, and knowing that makes me want to live my life to the fullest. I hope that when I die I will have brightened and improved the lives of those I have known. I want to leave an incredible legacy for my children. I want my life to mean something. But I also know, there is SO MUCH MORE and that fills me with hope. I don't know what eternity entails,.... goodness, I don't really even care. All I know, is that I want to be were Jesus is because my hope is in HIM!
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." - Hebrews 11:1