I don’t think many people would disagree that we live in a dark age. If you turn on the news, it won’t be long before you hear a harrowing story of neglected children, school shootings, random murders, spousal abuse, human trafficking, racism, poverty, disease, natural disasters, or general mass chaos. In their most recent reports, the CDC and the FBI cite 41,145 suicides, 699,202 abortions, 90,185 rapes, 15,809 homicidal fatalities, 327,374 robberies, and 813,862 divorces in the United States in 2015. In such a godless day in age, our future can appear dismal. Yet, as believers, we have something bigger to hold on to: HOPE.
What exactly is hope? The dictionary defines it as “the feeling of wanting something to happen and thinking that it could happen.” We can hope that the Georgia Bulldogs win the SEC Championship, wanting the team to succeed and knowing that it could possibly happen, but there is no guarantee; it may or may not happen. However, as believers, our hope is certain. Hebrews 6:19 says, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” The root of our hope is Jesus. No matter what happens to us, no matter how dark our surroundings become, and no matter how bleak the future looks, Jesus has overcome this world through His death and resurrection. His love for us is evident in His ultimate sacrifice on the cross, and His ever-faithful concern for us is demonstrated in His resurrection. Because He rose again, He is alive and present in every moment of our lives, loving us, interceding for us, sanctifying us, and molding us in His image.
So what does this mean for us in our everyday lives? First, we need not fear. When the world around us looks like a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah, and darkness seems to prevail, we have hope; this is not our home, and Jesus defeated sin. When bad things are happening to good people, we have hope; our God’s love never fails, and He works for the good of those who love Him. When our future is uncertain, we have hope; God is all-knowing and trustworthy to direct our paths. When we experience loss, we have hope; Jesus is compassionate and understands our pain because He experienced every emotion we feel during His time on Earth. When we feel alone, we have hope; Jesus’ very last words before returning to Heaven were, “Surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” No matter the circumstance, Jesus is greater, and He is our hope.
Second, we can walk in victory. I cannot articulate it better than Paul does in Romans 8: “If God is for us, who can be against us? …Christ Jesus who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Paul’s words are saturated with hope! Nothing can separate us from Jesus or His love; no catastrophe, trial, distance, or darkness can take away our hope. Because of Jesus, we have conquered the dark despair of this world!
Finally, we must tell others about our hope. There is no shortage of hurting people in this world, and far too many of them are hopeless. If your neighbor loses their job, your coworker gets cancer, your friend’s husband leaves, your sister has a miscarriage, or you hear the other parents in the pickup line at school lamenting the “hopeless” presidential election, don’t miss the opportunity to tell them about Jesus and the hope they can find in Him! The greatest help you can give the afflicted is the eternal hope for which we all long in the deepest parts of our souls – point them to the Author of hope!
It is not always easy to see this hope when we are surrounded by such devastation and evil, but we must intentionally remind ourselves when we start to feel discouraged, depressed, and hopeless. Psalm 42:11 says, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God…” The Psalmist recognizes his despairing heart, then reminds himself why his discouragement is unnecessary: God is his hope and salvation. Memorize Scriptures that talk about hope so that you are equipped and ready to counter the lies of despair Satan will undoubtedly seize you with. Psalm 71 says, “As for me, I will always have hope.” Romans 15:13 reminds us, “Our God is a God of hope.” Job 11:18 states, “You will be secure because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.” The Bible is full of encouraging verses of hope; utilize them!