“Looking for that blessed hope,
and the glorious appearing of the great God
and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”
My blonde pigtails swung in wild patterns as my childhood friends and I played tag, pin-the-tail-on-the donkey, and various birthday games. I made a wish and blew out candles on my homemade cake. But opening presents ranked highest in my hopes for a happy birthday. I always saved my parents’ presents for last. A cowgirl hat, boots, and yes! A baby doll I had seen in the catalogue. Clopping along in my boots with my cowboy hat resting between my pigtails, my baby doll and I would explore in imaginary adventures.
Birthday parties didn’t happen every year but making birthdays special did. And each year I would receive a new baby doll. I began to have a sure confidence one present would always be a new addition to my doll family. My hope was based on my parents’ love and past actions. But then my twelfth birthday came and no more dolls. My hope had been deferred – at least until I was grown and added to my collection.
We all hope for certain things in this life but when hope is deferred it –
“maketh the heart sick…” Proverbs 13:12
Misplaced hope brings disappointment rather than the fulfillment of our desires. Misdirected hope is no more than wishful thinking and thoughts are fleeting. Money doesn’t buy happiness only worry about managing it. We hope to outrun the aging process. Yet it has a way of overtaking us. People may mean well but cannot be depended upon to bring our hopes to a happy conclusion. People are people and we fail one another. Nobody with a loving heart sets out to dash another’s hopes. Even followers of Christ who have their perfection in him, fail to live out that perfection all the time. Wisdom is lost in placing our hopes in anything less than God.
God-given hope has its substance, its grounding in faith. Those without faith have no substantial hope. There is no assurance of anything past what we can see. Our hope is worth waiting for.
“For we are saved by hope:
but hope that is seen is not hope:
for what a man seeth,
why doth he yet hope for?
But if we hope for that we see not,
then do we with patience wait for it.”
God-given hope emerged from the tomb of Jesus, assuring us of everlasting life, and carrying us home past all earthly disappointments.
“But now is Christ risen from the dead,
and become the firstfruits of them that slept…
So when the corruptible shall have put on incorruption,
and this mortal shall have put on immortality,
then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written,
Death is swallowed up in victory.”
1 Corinthians 15:20,54
Christ was the first to rise from the dead to never taste death again. Being the first fruits means he paid our entrance fee to where he is. Being the first means there are more to follow. Those to follow are those who follow him now – those who have placed their hope in him. “…Christ in you the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27b
Jesus is our blessed hope – our God-given confident assurance we will live forever because he lives forever. So, we live now for him and wait patiently with eagerness for the day our hope turns to sight.
“But let us, who are of the day,
be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love;
and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
For God hath not appointed us to wrath,
but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep,
we should live together with him.”
1 Thessalonians 5:8-10
Whether we are dead or alive when Jesus returns we will live together with him, if he is our hope of salvation. Earthly disappointments will be no more.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes:
and there shall be no more death,
neither sorrow, nor crying,
neither shall there be any more pain:
for the former things are passed away.”
The disappointments of this life are short-lived. The hope of the righteous brings gladness now and forever for it’s the product of faith in God.
“The hope of the righteous shall be gladness:
but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.”
Are you hope – less or hope – full?
There is a saying Christians repeat to one another.
“God is good all the time.” “All the time God is good.”
Do you believe this? If so, you have hope.