Keeping Hope Alive
Matthew 24:13-14 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.
Together, and separately, we have experienced a very difficult period of time. Isolation, loneliness, boredom, confusion, anger, fear and frustration have been common emotions during this time. As Christians we need to remember that we can always have hope - because we know how this crazy, chaotic story ends!
First Peter is about keeping hope alive in the face of pressures and circumstances that could possibly extinguish it completely, or worse, turn authentic faith into a pale replica of the real thing. In the opening paragraphs, Peter announces his theme: "Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance--an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see." 1 Pet 1:3-4
You can be confident that we will endure trials. More trials. Perhaps more difficult than the last. And we may feel angry, isolated, bored, and scared again. But your faith during these trials will be a beacon of light to the rest of the world. When your faith remains strong it will honor Jesus. Focusing your thoughts on the hope of a known future with the One who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is the key to keeping your hope alive between now and the day that Jesus returns to take us home.
Our neighbors and colleagues are experiencing hopelessness like never before. In a seeming unending list of confusing messages, strange combinations of good news and bad news, reduced numbers of deaths from the COVID virus and, at the same time, greater restrictions in travel and gathering together, it feels as though the pandemic will never end. Regardless of the rules that are set forth by the government, we can have hope because we know that there is certain victory in the end. Nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come. Nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love of God. (Rom 8:38). God will never let us down. He never leaves us alone, not even when the going gets tough.
So we keep our hope alive. And we can use our circumstances to share with a hurting lost world the reason for the hope that lies within us.
Isaiah 40:31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.