Hope is as much a part of human life as love and food and housing. Man’s soul has needs as real and demanding as his body.
Children and youth are typically full of hope. They do not judge life by its present, by its past, or even by its predictable future. They judge life by their dreams, and their dreams are built on hope. Hope for security in employment, hope for security in companionship, hope for security in health, hope for security in achievement. If a youth did not have these hopes, he would find life worthless. When adults lose these hopes, life becomes a burden.
We have lived long enough, some of us, to know that many of our hopes will never be realized. We have bidden good-bye to more than one fond hope. But some hope remains. So we work on, trying to realize some of the aims we have not yet achieved.
But life is fragile and opportunities turn out to be quicksand. It may be hard t admit, but since sin entered the world., God has purposely allowed disappointment and frustration to stalk the earth. Sin has so desperate a clutch on us that we will hardly let it go, or renounce it, until it has deceived us. God has to dash our false hopes in order to make necessary the true hope that He only can offer.
Hope means two things for the Christian. For the present, it means that the believer always had God. He may be poorly fed, clothed, housed, educated, and employed, but he has now in God resources that more than compensate for any or all temporal deprivations. This is no self-deluding philosophy. Man simply cannot live by bread alone, whether he is interested in Christ or not. Man must have an inward source of inspiration and comfort. Wealth of health or privilege does not guarantee this. God does. When his family was gone, his wealth lost, and his health a memory, Job had a present comfort: “I know that my Redeemer is living.”
Hope also speaks of the future prospect in God. Spiritually, his best days are still ahead for the Christian. The “dawning light” is rising toward its zenith glory. Walking with God is an ever-increasing joy. And this walk does not terminate on earth. No present condition or prospect can dull the Christian’s anticipation of eternal raptures. “Pie in the sky” is the world’s slogan of ridicule. The Christian is undaunted, knowing that these light afflictions work for him an exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
Christ’s return is not my last hope. It is my first hope, my best hope, my full hope. In Christ I am sure a destiny which can never be realized on earth.
If any of earth’s pleasures or riches or philosophies rob me of this hope, I am no longer a Christian. I have lost the faith. I have lost hope. I have lost my soul.
Download With Open Face 1983, (p.17-18)