Monday, October 8, 2012

Hope Floats?

Hmmm, not sure about that one. Sometimes in this world that is fallen and filled with hopeLESSness, hope is more an effort of the will than an effect of emotion.

We throw the word around easily enough:
I hope I get what I asked for at Christmas.
I hope I make a good grade on the test.
I hope my car doesn't break down.
I hope she got my voicemail.

None of the ways we commonly use the word hope really embodies what it means, or should mean, to a Christian.

Christian HOPE is rooted in the knowledge of God's love for us. No matter where you look in the Bible, Old Testament or New, God has constantly found different avenues to show us how much he loves us. God searches after and romances us to his side despite the fact that we are fickle and turn away from him just as constantly as he searches for us.

When all else failed because of our stubborness and refusal to repent, God pulled out his trump card. He sent his son, Jesus, to die on a cross for us. Jesus died a painful and lingering death, descended into Hell and, for a time, was completely and utterly separated from God the Father, so that we might be covered with grace by proxy and never have to experience such a separation.

We didn't do anything to deserve that merciful act and yet God did it for us because he loves us that much.

 [Jesus] presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.
- Romans 5: 6-8 (The Message Translation)

That act is where our great HOPE as Christians comes from. Our hope is based on God's steadfast love for us, not in the fleeting opportunities and desires we find in the world. Christian HOPE doesn't change with the vagaries of culture, it isn't based in us and it doesn't depend on the outcomes in this world.

In order to appreciate this HOPE we need a paradigm shift. Instead of looking at the short-term goals of this world, we need to look at the long-term goals of God. Shifting our focus is an effort of will that helps us to grasp the HOPE of God for the eternal while working to fulfill God's plan for our lives in the temporal.

HOPE is real and available to all of us even in the midst of a fallen world filled with fallen people who have fallen relationships. HOPE is the knowledge that God has a plan for you that will bring about an excellent, eternal outcome no matter the earthly one.

Chesney Szaniszlo

"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
- Jeremiah 29:11