Hope in a World of Hurt
By Rev. Gary Lewis
By the time you read this, the Purdue football season will have begun. After a 9-4 campaign last year, the Boilermakers ended the year with a victory in the Music City Bowl. To say that I am excited would be an understatement, as I am a big football fan. There is lots of hope that Purdue can earn a postseason bowl bid. The Boilermakers are under the radar nationally, as always, but the start of a new season always brings with it some optimism.
Will another winning season happen? Will there be another Music City Bowl bid at the end of the season? Who knows, but certainly the hope is there.
That’s what “hope” means, isn’t it? A desire accompanied by anticipation. We want it to happen, but we’re not sure. Well, that might be what Webster’s Dictionary says it means, but it’s not what the Bible says it means.
In the Bible, hope is defined a little differently. In the Bible, to hope is to look forward to, to look for, or to expect that which is coming. There’s a sense of expectation of what is to come rather than a sense of anticipation of something that may or may not come. Hope is sure, certain, just not yet realized.
So, in 2 Peter 3:13-14, we read, “We are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness. And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.” Hope is about waiting, but not waiting and wondering, it is about waiting with confidence and trust in what will most certainly happen.
Compare our understanding of hope with the world’s view of hope. The world teaches us that hope is nothing more than wishful thinking. Those who do not trust in Jesus Christ have to go it alone. It is like they are walking in perpetual darkness, relying on their own instincts and unable to see God’s greatness in their midst. We have so many people who are hurting because they lack hope in a Savior who knows their needs.
Christians have the hope of Christ in their hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit. When they enter dark places, they are given an eternal flame that will never extinguish. No matter what the score might be, a Christ-follower is never without hope. God’s righteousness endures forever.
For the month of September, we plan to continue the sermon series “The Bible Encouragement Plan.” These practical messages will teach you the richness of Holy Communion, how to understand prayer, the meaning of grace and how to fulfill Christ’s command to be a peacemaker. When we worship God together, we are celebrating the power of hope. Because that is what Jesus Christ brings to us.