Hope. I want it. I search for it. I try to hold on to it when I find it. I sing, teach, greet, write, and listen to pastors speak words of hope. Yet in reality, hope has proven elusive from the beginning of time.
Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and were driven from the Garden of Eden. Cain killed Abel and was banished from his homeland. Joseph’s brothers betrayed him and sold him into slavery. The Hebrew people endured years of Egyptian bondage. Old Testament prophets warned God’s people time after time about their unfaithfulness to the holy God.
If I read, watch, or listen to current news, the world remains devoid of hope. People destroy one another with whatever weapons they possess, including hate-filled words. Disease, disaster, death, political unrest, and economic upheaval cross our screens in an endless litany of woe. Children live in homes lacking direction, filled instead with addiction, pain, hunger, and distress. People of every age suffer abuse from both strangers and caregivers. Persecution of Christians results in demolished homes and churches, imprisonment, and death.
Hatred, prejudice, greed, and a “me first” attitude dominate the pages of history.
How do I fight this never-ending battle against evil? Where do I find hope, and how do I offer hope to a world in despair?
If I look within, I find no hope. If I trust those in authority, they eventually let me down. My hope first appeared in the most unexpected way and place: through a baby in a feeding trough in Bethlehem. In Jesus I find what I so desperately desire. Jesus left His home in heaven and entered the turmoil of earth as an infant to provide the only genuine hope that lasts. His gift remains available to all who turn to Him in repentance and faith, including abusers, drug users, murderers, and persecutors. Romans 5:8 reminds me “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
This is not the end. Through every trial, I remember Romans 12:12: “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.” God gives me the strength I need for my present suffering, and He promises eternity with Him one day. Therefore, as Micah 7:7 declares, “I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me.”
A few years ago, as my church’s youth mission team approached their destination, a sign greeted them: “Welcome to Hope.” What a fitting reminder to share the message of hope made possible by Jesus. Every day offers an opportunity to tell others the source of hope.
When entertaining friends, especially international university students who have never heard the story of Jesus, I help them understand who Jesus is and why He came. I invite overnight visitors to join our evening devotion as we read the Bible’s message of good news through Jesus. In spite of all that’s wrong in the world today, I want them to know our Savior holds out hope for all who accept His incomparable gift.
Today and always, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).