By Rev. Dale Hodges — Faith Pentecostal Church, Spencer
It has been said that man can live 40 days without food, three days without water, nine minutes without oxygen and only one minute without hope. It has also been said, if you could convince a man that there is no hope, he would curse the day he was born. Hope is extremely important!
I have read that years ago the S-4 submarine was rammed by another ship and quickly sank. The entire crew was trapped in its prison house of death. Ships rushed to the scene of disaster off the coast of Massachusetts. We don’t know what all took place down in the sunken submarine, but we can be sure that the men clung bravely to life as the oxygen slowly gave out. A diver placed his helmeted ear to the side of the vessel and listened. He heard a tapping noise. Someone, he learned, was tapping out a question in the dots and dashes of the Morse code. The question came slowly: “Is ... there ... any ... hope?” This seems to be the cry of humanity today: Is there any hope?
We have hope because of what we Christians celebrated recently — Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ as we find recorded in scriptures like Revelation 1:18. “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen. …”
Hope, indeed is the basis of all human existence in Christ. It is faith! Hope is believing in something that we have never seen. Jesus in his discourse with Thomas said: “… Be not faithless, but believing.” Thomas was not with the other disciples when they saw Jesus in his resurrected body. Thomas doubted and said he would not believe until he had the right kind of evidence. Eight days later the Lord appeared again to the disciples and Thomas was there. Thomas was then convinced, and Jesus said to him, “…because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed,” John 20:29. The Lord has a special blessing for those of us who have never seen him but believe in him.
Paul said in the resurrection chapter of the Bible “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead.” 1 Corinthians 15:19, 20. The Lord is the one who provides hope and makes life worth living. The Lord gives promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come, 1 Timothy 4:8. And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life, 1 John 2:25. A wise person finds hope in Christ. Paul also talked to the church at Rome about hope and it was in harmony with what Jesus said to Thomas, “We are saved by hope; but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” Paul went on to a familiar verse, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (And what is his purpose for us?) That we might be conformed to his image,” Romans 8:28, 29. I want to be more like Jesus! I want it to be “Christ in (me) you the hope of glory,” Colossians 1:27
The Psalmist David says hope in God has a wonderful influence on our attitudes. “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God: which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever,” Psalm 146:5, 6; Acts 4:24. No wonder David said: “... I will hope in thee continually, and will yet praise thee more and more,” Psalm 71:14. When David knew the benefits of having hope in God, he was willing to pay the price to have it continually. This happens to be one of the three marks of discipleship mentioned in the Gospel of John. “… If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” John 8:31-32.
The hope in this life of Jesus living on the inside of us is joy unspeakable, and the promise of his second coming and the hope of being with him throughout eternity is beyond our comprehension.
1 Cor 2:9 “But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
Not everyone believes or wants to understand that Jesus is coming again. The Lord has provided the hope of escape out of this world of sin, corruption, violence, war, trouble and turmoil. And this hope should affect our attitudes and lifestyles. Titus 2:11-15 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” 1 John 3:2-3 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” Is your hope only in things of temporal value? Or do you have this glorious eternal hope that maketh not ashamed? Romans 5:1-5. Please allow the word of the Lord and your faith in God to help you choose to have hope in Christ and in things eternal.