Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hope: the belief that a positive outcome lies ahead

About a month ago at small group, my good friend Jake posed the question “How do you give someone hope?” That same week, one of my students shared with me the heartbreaking reality of her life. Her parents were freshmen in high school when they found out they were pregnant with her. Both of them dropped out of school. They had three children before they were 20. My student’s father has been in and out of jail for as long as she can remember. She suspects her mother is using drugs. It broke my heart to hear her talk so casually about the fighting, threats, and manipulation that she has to deal with on a daily basis at home. That day she came to me overwhelmed, hurting, and without hope.

I wanted desperately to give her hope, but I couldn't. Who am I say Have hope. Good things are coming? Her parents may never get their acts together, and life as an adult may not be pleasant for her either. I don’t know what her future holds. I can’t promise her that life will get better. I can’t promise anyone that life on earth will be what they want it to be.

And therein lies the problem. Having hope in earthly things will always lead to disappointment. We live in a fallen world where people make poor decisions and the future is unknown. Life will never be perfect here. However, there is something to look forward to. God sent his son Jesus Christ to redeem us from our sins, so that we could be with him. One day he will return, and those who have believed in him will live eternally in heaven. That’s the better life worth hoping for!

I may not be able to give hope to my hurting student, but I can point her to One worth hoping in. The One who gives us the hope of eternal life (Titus 1:2) and a life worth living here on earth (John 10:10).

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him."
Psalm 62:5

"...we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, and are eager to do what is good."
Titus 1:13-14