2002-09-10 - Hope
Hebrews 6:19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.
Last week I spent a few days in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Atlantic City is one of the places where gambling is popular and legal. I'm not a gambler, but I wanted to go to the shore and the hotel rooms were cheaper there. It was an interesting experience. I had never been to a casino before. I walked through Bally's, the Trump places and a host of others. It was so discouraging. Honestly, I don't think I ever saw anyone smile. There was no joy, no hope, no happiness. Even those who were winning did not smile. The contrast between my everyday life and what I noticed there was so dramatic that it was both compelling and hard to describe.
To some extent I felt despair myself as I thought about how these people were as Christ noticed, seemingly, "...depressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd," Matthew 9:36. I don't know how you reach such people, but I know the solution is in Christ. As I pondered this query I woke up the next morning and out my window, on the beach, was a man with a metal detector. He was looking for treasure. He had hope. This led me to contemplate the hope that there is in Christ for all those who come to Him in faith and repentance, believing in Him for the forgiveness of sin because of His death for sin and resurrection from the dead. It reminded me of my hope. That lone man, in the midst of a plethora of despair, sounded the chimes of hope. For me, I thought, "There is hope in Christ. There is hope in Christ." Maybe his hope was different from mine, but the reminder was not lost on me.
I don't know if you have ever heard of those "three little words." They are generally defined as "I love you." Those are fine, but I would like to suggest three other little words. They are, "Rest in Christ." The older I get those three little words take on more and more life. Rest in Christ. Rest in Christ alone. This does not absolve us of the responsibility of living lives of godliness, but rather it is a mindset. It is a mentality that "I will rest in Jesus Christ alone for all my hope and trust." If you do so you will be one of the few people, who with me, can smile among those who are hopeless.
Hope is a goofy thing. Hope depends on the object of the hope. When you get in a plane, you hope it is air worthy. When you sit down in a chair, you hope it can sustain the weight you carry. Simple, little things like that are all exercises of faith. We hope that things will progress through as we expect, but hope is hope. The chair might be giving out. The plane might be tired and ready to crash. Hope is hope, that is all, and we all go through life living on hope--everyday.
The wonder of faith in Christ is that hope, or faith, becomes assurance. It is the only place where I know this to be true. Hope and faith, are now conviction (Hebrews 11:1, 6) for the Christian. So Christian hope is more than mere hope because it has with it an assurance that is based upon and grounded in God Himself. We have as our assurance that, "He who believes in Him shall not be disappointed," 2 Peter 2:6.
Soli Deo Gloria,