Dear Liberty Church,
Recently, many speakers, organizations, and publications have been calling for more “positive thinking” during this time of COVID and civil unrest. This notion of ‘positivity’ will probably only increase (especially since there is an exorbitant amount of negativity in the news and media), and there is nothing wrong with that, per se, but I want to introduce a Biblical word that captures what they may be trying to communicate: hope.
Hope is at the heart of the Christian faith (Hebrews 11:1); it is also at the heart of Christian suffering. What books in the Bible do you think mention the word ‘hope’ the most? The Book of Psalms, namely Psalms of lament, and the Book of Job. These two books deal with suffering more than any other in Scripture, but it is rarely suffering alone that is stressed. Instead, suffering, pain, loneliness, anxiety, all of these are always married to hope in the minds of God’s people. Suffering without hope is tragic; suffering with hope is bearable, and in fact, glorifying to God.
What is hope? The word is translated from the Greek word ‘elpis’ and its definition is: “the looking forward to something with some reason for confidence respecting fulfillment.” How fitting for us! Are we not looking forward to something daily, expecting its fulfillment?
But I am not talking about looking forward to the end of COVID, nor to the end of civil unrest, nor to the end of quarantines, nor to the end of wondering about whether schools will reopen in the Fall. All of these are important, certainly, but we all must look forward to something even far more significant, with far greater ramifications: we must look forward to the absolute end of sin and death. And what is our “reason for confidence respecting this fulfillment”? It is a hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are convinced that not only did Christ die on a cross for our sins, but He also rose from the grave conquering sin, and He will also return again, to take His people from sin.
Some argue that thinking too much about these heavenly truths render us of no earthly good. How wrong they are! The exact opposite is true! When we reflect and meditate on the hope of Jesus Christ, and this hope fills our hearts and our minds, and our souls are saturated with it, what will come out of our mouths as we talk with our neighbor, our family, our friends, and our co-workers? Hope. They will get a dose of hope from us, hopefully a large dose, and I am positive, my friends, that this is what the world needs right now.
Hoping with you,