Summary: Hope is so much more than crossed fingers and waiting for the unknown to happen or not happen. Hope in the resurrected Jesus means that although your world is shaken, your soul will not be. Pastor Jarrod shares this hope in today’s message.
In an ESPN interview last month, a reporter shared what NBA super-star, Steph Curry, said regarding his “killer instinct” in playing opposing teams. He said, “I want to make them lose all hope.” That’s a zinger. And Curry does an exceptional job doing that.
Ponder it: “Losing all hope.” What do we mean by hope? Let’s start with what we don’t mean. Hope is not “I hope that ice-storm doesn’t happen tonight,” or “I hope I get a raise.” Hope is not “You think you’ll get offered the job? I hope so.” Hope is not, “Do you think you’ll get audited this year? I hope not.” That is biting your nails waiting to see how things play out and anticipating a chance they will work out. That’s not hope. That’s wishful thinking.
So what IS hope? Hope is, as one writer put it, not a “hope-so” but a “know-so.” Hope is, “Christmas is coming I can’t wait to see what it brings!” Not, I hope Christmas is coming. But I know it is! Feasting, surprise, gifts, and laughter is coming! Hope is knowing there’s peace before you while circumstances “Steph Curry” you. Hope is knowing deliverance is coming when your circumstances suggest it never will. Hope is knowing that although your tears are flowing your laughter is coming.
Hope is always linked to faith. And true hope and real faith are always rooted in God. Hope, true hope, living/breathing hope, biblical hope, is always grounded in God—His ways, His promises—and trusting God and His ways and promises despite the circumstances we’re in.
Just as ice-storms and (what feels like) dead-end jobs threaten our “hope-so’s,” it seems there is something more sinister afoot in the universe always threatening our “know-so’s.” We risk running out of hope. We risk losing all hope. We try to even protect ourselves from having to have hope! Hope is as vital to the human condition as air, but as fragile as a sand dollar.
The Hebrew writer penned, Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not yet seen.” See those words? Assurance. Conviction. Of that not yet seen—impossible to see, perhaps, due to pain, loss, suffering.
The author of Hebrews, and the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter (where we’ll be turning in a moment) were writing to Christians under great suffering. The Apostle Peter is writing to his people who are being persecuted, experiencing death, loss of homes and property, exposure to devastating hardships. In 1 Peter, the word “suffering” is used 16 times. This tells us that the greatest threat to your hope and mine is suffering.
Many of us, unbeliever, and even believer, alike walk a thin line to tipping into that abyss of “losing all hope.” Circumstances, loss, failure, suffering, can be the winds and waves that blow us over into the void of hopelessness.