Hope is one of the most defining traits of Christianity. In fact, I have found that the biggest and most important difference between believers and non-believers is hope. This realization came to me as I debated with a man who denies the existence of God and seemed determined to destroy my beliefs and strip me of my convictions. In our “discussion”, I realized something- he had no hope. Every point he made was filled with hopelessness. To him, life was meaningless, and the only thing we could do was try to get as much pleasure as we could before we died. There was no life after death, only emptiness.
What a terrible mindset! If I believed that, I most certainly would go partially crazy. What is the point of life without hope?
“Oh, but I have hope,” says the deist in the back of the room. “I hope for my future, that I can get a good job and start making lots of money.”
No. That is not, by any means, true hope. The only definition of hope that matters is found within Christ; indeed, the only hope that matters is found within Him. Hope is, to shorten an extremely long definition, grounded on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and truth of the Gospel, complete contentment within Christ and His plan, having released our sorrows and stress to Him, which allows us to look forward to the future “with eager expectation.”
Hope is grounded on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and truth of the Gospel, complete contentment within Christ and His plan, having released our sorrows and stress to Him, which allows us to look forward to the future “with eager expectation.”Tweet
Let’s dissect this piece by piece on the foundation already stated. The beginning of hope is found within complete contentment in Christ and His plan. He does have a plan, after all, and it is for your good, no matter what you may think. John Piper speaks into this perfectly, and I agree completely with this quote.
Not only is all your affliction momentary, not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there. But all of it is totally meaningful. Every millisecond of your pain, from the fallen nature or fallen man, every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that. I don’t care if it was cancer or criticism. I don’t care if it was slander or sickness. It wasn’t meaningless. It’s doing something! It’s not meaningless. Of course you can’t see what it’s doing. Don’t look to what is seen. When your mom dies, when your kid dies, when you’ve got cancer at 40, when a car careens into the sidewalk and takes her out, don’t say, “That’s meaningless!” It’s not. It’s working for you an eternal weight of glory. Therefore, therefore, do not lose heart. But take these truths and day by day focus on them. Preach them to yourself every morning. Get alone with God and preach his word into your mind until your heart sings with confidence that you are new and cared for.John Piper
“Every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that.” Profound words indeed, Pastor Piper. This quote builds on Romans 8:28-29, which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
If you didn’t read my post on God’s eternal plan and how it relates to us, you can do so by clicking here. If you did, you will remember what I said: because God is all-powerful, He is all-good. Because He is both all-powerful and all-good, He must have a plan, one that will work out for your good and His glory. When the darkness surrounds you, when you cry out, “God, relieve me from this evil”, the hardest thing we can do is bow our knees to God. Even if we do, it is never full submission. The only man, in the history of the world, that has fully submitted during a time of total darkness and pain, was Jesus. And yet this Jesus, the carpenter from Nazareth, died so that you may be made whole in your affliction. It’s not meaningless!
We continue to find true hope by laying our burdens on him. I particularly love Matthew 11:28-30, which says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (English Standard Version). He takes our yokes and gives rest to our very souls. Not only does He give us hope, but also peace! Hope and peace work hand-in-hand; hope brings peace, and peace brings hope.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.John 14:27
Unfortunately, laying our burdens on Him does not always eradicate our sorrow. When we are struck by the world so hard that we are left reeling, laying our burdens on Him may only help a little. After all, we are confronted with the consistent reminders of our pain, our loss, our anguish. Nothing can change that, after all. Nothing, that is, short of God. But that is where He steps in. He meets us in our affliction and shows us parts of Him that we never would have discovered without the pain of our losses.
Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved.Psalm 55:22
Finally, our hope is completed in looking forward to the future. Not the foreseeable future, that is, but our future with God in heaven. Again, atheists can scoff and call us delusional, but we know where we are going. Because we have hope in life after death, we can live our current lives with hope. Romans 8:24-25 says, “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” True and everlasting hope is found in looking forward to eternity with him.
If you are in need of hope right now, I have a song for you. Sung by Shane and Shane, the interludes are done by Piper with the very quote I used earlier.
There is hope. God is near. He has a plan. He loves you. Cast your burdens on him, and be relieved.
Alright, that’s all for today. Thanks so much for reading! Your support means a ton to me. If you enjoyed this post, make sure to click that Follow button below (or to the side), so as to not miss out on posts like this. Thanks again, and I hope you have a fantastic day!
A big thanks to one of my best friends Elisha for making this guest post!
“Don’t Lose Heart” YouTube, uploaded by Ben Nelson, 23 October 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUFGFbtKw-M
All scriptural quotations taken from the English Standard Version. All rights reserved.