“Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:13
Hope. What is hope? It can be really easy to deceive ourselves into believing that we have hope when we do not. We can have the appearance of hope, but still lack a hope which brings life to ourselves and others.
We hope for a better job.
A better house.
A happy family.
A dream fulfilled.
Fill in the blank ________.
If you live in the US, you are probably familiar with the American dream. We set our sights on the hope that anything can happen if one works hard and sets his or her mind to it. So, we focus on the goal, the task at hand. And once we accomplish it, we set another goal, another task and on and on the hope of the American dream goes. Hope becomes a mere carrot dangled in front of the donkey. Always moving forward, but never able to obtain the satisfaction of peace and contentment.
If we have any reason or logic at all, we know that dreams do not come true for everyone. There are people in the world who serve God with all their heart that still die in poverty and without clean water. There are people martyred for their faith, even today. Natural disasters fall on everyone and can easily wash or blow away all that is reasonably within its path. Even scripture talks about how time and chance happen to everyone (Ecclesiastes 9:11). Even those who have hope in the American dream or seek after the Lord with all their heart, still can suffer immeasurable loss. Take a look at Proverbs 13:12, where it says:
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…”
When the object of our hope refrains or delays from coming, our heart grows sick. When the job we wanted never pans out. When the offer for the dream home falls through the cracks. When the family is filled with more divisiveness than faithfulness. When loved ones die of tragic circumstances or ages. Hope in things will eventually lead to disappointment. When things simply do not happen the way we expected or hoped for them too, we become discouraged and grow weary in our faith in God.
The problem with this way of thinking is that all our hope is banked in dreams that we can envision. The deception is in thinking that if we hope in anything at all, that it will bring us satisfaction and contentment. But it does not.
Even good things, even hoping for good and godly things can become places of discouragement if we do not put our hope in God. It is the God of hope that fills us with all joy and peace (Romans 15:13). It is the God of hope who has conquered death and the grave and promised us eternal life through Christ Jesus. Not the stuff. Not the dreams. Not the perfect relationships. Not even the desire of world peace and the abolishment of social injustice.
Only God is able to give us a hope that fills us with a peace and joy that is unexplainable when we know that time and chance happen to all. When we know that dreams may never come and death is knocking at our door. It is possible to have genuine hope in the most hopeless of situations if we look to the Savior of our very souls, Jesus Christ.
The truth of the matter is: Hope is not really hope if it is not in God. God is our only true guarantee of hope! A hope that goes beyond the grave. So, let us look for His glorious appearing of hope in our past, present and our future.
“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and God!” Psalm 43:5