Healing Truth #3- In Christ I have the Fullness of Hope
Updated: Jul 6, 2021
Genuine hope means so much more than mere wishful thinking. In its truest biblical sense, hope ("elpis" in the original biblical Greek) involves a confident expectation, along with preparation, for the favorable things that we know will happen.
One of my greatest human reminders of hope came decades ago, when I first discovered that I was pregnant. With the pregnancy came the usual amounts of ups and downs. Such symptoms as a swollen belly (along with swelling everywhere else), fatigue and perpetual pains throughout my body might have alarmed or even frightened me, had I not been aware of what was to come. Even more so, the labor pains felt like death, a temporary suffering that I could not have born had I not know of the resulting life that would be born through the struggle. In light of the birth of our beautiful daughter (now a wife and mother herself), even the pains of pregnancy and labor became a gift.
Peter challenged the dispersed believers of the early church to focus on the coming victories of Christ in the face of their current persecution. I Peter 1:13 puts it this way:
"Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming."
In this sense, hope is not just a feeling. It's a tool, a weapon even, to fight against the dark forces that would weight our spirit down. Hope in this sense is not just a gift but a decision. As with many of God's gifts to believers, we may choose to receive and use it or try to function without it. So why would anyone want to live without it?
All believers in Christ have access to this "secret ingredient" of hope that can turn any an all of life's trials, losses and suffering into meaningful activities that we know will lead to greater rewards. I say "secret" because if people really, truly understood the value of placing our assurance in Christ, everyone would want to do it. I say "access" rather than possession, because even many of us who claim Christ as our Savior fail to claim the gift. Instead, we choose to hold a firm grasp of our own self-pity, negativity and despair, as if our lives were defined by the sum-total of our troubles.
How easily we forget. How quickly we return to that self-pitying, self righteous mindset that focused on life's temporary set-backs. And yet our Lord continues to keep calling us back to that promise of new life and renewal, as with a newborn child, drawing us back into your loving arms over and over again, even when we forget....