Monday, July 25, 2011

A Hope More Solid Than The Belief Of Tomorrow

Do you know that song from the story of the orphan Annie titled Tomorrow? Part of the lyrics say:

"When I'm stuck a day
That's gray,
And lonely,
I just stick out my chin
And Grin,
And Say,

The sun'll come out
So ya gotta hang on
'Til tomorrow
Come what may
Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
I love ya Tomorrow!
You're always
A day
A way!" 

That's one thing about the human race, most of the time we manage to hold on to the hope that tomorrow will be better than today. It is the reason that we can face so many catastrophes and continue on. We somehow manage to pick ourselves up out of the mud, clean ourselves up and hold out for a better day. We do that as a race but not necessarily as an individual. Many people get over taken by an excess of sorrow and despair. Many people lose all sense of hope, disappearing into the darkening world of drugs, alcohol, entertainment, even things like movies, to live through other people's experiences. The sorrow does not disappear. Hope does not come in. Eventually, some of these people can no longer endure such a life of existence and bring it to an unfortunate early end.

The human race has an ability to hold on to hope based upon nothing really. That hope is more like wishful thinking. Perhaps as a race we look at history and see that things usually get a bit better so we base our hope on this. But that is hard to do as an individual because these things are more intricate and delicate as we examine the capacity of the heart and mind to cope. We know that the world will respond to the starving people of Eastern Africa and that we as a race will overcome this disaster and that society will re-establish itself. But we also know that hundreds of thousands of individuals will die. It is hard to hold on to hope in this situation, even the hope that the sun will come out tomorrow. Despair, a lack of hope is possibly the darkest form of human existence. Yet, there is a hope that overcomes even this great darkness.

We have a Father who loves us dearly and has shown us this love in the sacrifice of his son, Jesus. It is not an emotional love as we understand romance but a love that provokes a self-sacrificing decision for the benefit of others. It is a decision love. It is this love that supplies us with a hope that is not based on wishful thinking or a desperate attempt to avoid despair. This hope is something tangible, solid, something that keeps the darkness of despair far from us because it is based on a love far greater than we have seen in any other place in our life. It is a love that is not earned or merited but instead freely given, even when not deserved. The apostle Paul wrote to his friend Timothy, encouraging him with this reminder:

This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:9-10)

It goes beyond "In God We Trust" to the deeper place of "In God We Hope". This speaks of something beyond what we can produce in ourselves. It speaks of those times when we are unable to pick ourselves up, unable to find our own solutions, unable to see past the darkness of today, when we really don't know if the sun will come up tomorrow. This speaks of a hope that does not arrive with tomorrow but is present in us today. This hope is not based on the past but is planted deep within the promises of God. Paul stated that this hope in God was the purpose for all their labour and striving. This was the hope that he was holding out to anyone who would take the time to listen, the hope for which he faced so much hardship, the hope for which he gave his life.

This hope is found in these gentle words spoken by Jesus:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:1-3)

This hope goes beyond this day; beyond our circumstances; beyond any physical discomfort. This hope propels us into eternal thinking, in the understanding that God is working it all out. This hope reminds us that we belong to him and he is sovereign. We are reminded:

... that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Our hope is not dashed upon the rocks of circumstances or lost in the storms of life. In fact, this hope only burns brighter in these times because the more bitter the circumstances the sweeter the hope. We don't live for tomorrow because we live for Christ and in Jesus we hold on to this truth today:

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)

We have hope right now, in this moment, even if we are surrounded by the darkness of despair. And this living hope will burn away the darkness as we hold on to Jesus. Our hope is not based on bank accounts, houses, possessions of any type. It is not based upon relationships or systems or any man made solution. It is not based upon the desperate belief that the sun will come out tomorrow.Our hope is based upon the unfailing love of our Heavenly Father, to whom we hold on to with all of our heart, soul and strength. 


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