A passenger on an ocean liner was enduring a rough Atlantic crossing. As he leaned over the rail, his face a shade of green, a steward came along and tried to encourage him: “Don’t be discouraged, sir! No one’s ever died of seasickness yet!” The nauseous passenger looked up at the steward with horror and said, “Don’t say that! It’s only the hope of dying that’s kept me alive this long!” Hope… It’s a word people use often. I hope you are doing well. I hope things go well. We are going through a lot, but we aren’t losing hope. I hope things get better. However, we live in a world that most of the time seems pretty hopeless. This reality leads some people to live persistently in negativity, and with a lack of positive expectation. Let me ask you some questions today. Are you personally a hopeful person? Do you struggle to have hope? Is hope just optimism or wishful thinking? We live in a world where “hope” is often based on circumstances or the natural possibilities of a situation. It’s as if hope is not something we have, but something we just hope to have. We hope for hope. However, the hope that the world offers us is very different than the hope we are offered by God in the Bible.
In the wisdom literature of the Old Testament it is written that “A hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12. It’s really very simple; hope isn’t something we get tomorrow it’s something we have today. You see, waiting on hope makes our heart sick. Meaning it causes worry, stress, anxiety, and fear. How many of you ever had a sick heart due to not feeling like there was hope or having a false hope? It’s interesting to note that the word “hope” is not mentioned that much in the Bible until after the resurrection of Jesus. We have to remember that before Jesus came people didn’t have the hope we have today. You see if your hope is just a waiting hope it makes your heart very, very, sick. Maybe you have a sick heart right at this moment. Your heart may be sick about something in the past, present, or something that you fear in the future. We have to remember that real hope is not in our circumstances, but in Jesus. The devil knows how to shake our hope, and he is good at getting us to forget where to place our hope.
I love that Peter reminds us of what kind of hope we can have when he said, “3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5) You see, biblical “hope” is not something you wait on, it’s something you have access to right now! It is a “living hope” which means it is a “daily” and moment by moment hope! That why we can sing “ Because He lives I can face tomorrow, Because He lives all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives.” This Sunday at South Side we will unpack the power of real “hope” in our new sermon series entitled “FHL.” Come early, and enjoy a fresh cup of coffee and snack at Café Connect. We now offer two “new” worship times that begin at 8:30 & 10:45. We hope to see you there!
South Side Church of Christ