“Dust we are and to dust we shall return” (Genesis 3:19).
“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come” (Hebrews 13:14)
This world has a way of turning on us when we try to make it our home.
- It disappoints and frustrates us (Romans 8:20).
- It can’t satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts.
- It causes a nagging feeling that things are not the way they’re supposed to be.
- It leaves us with a sense that we were made for something better.
But not everyone experiences dissatisfaction with the same intensity.
Endless distractions and unfinished bucket lists lure us to hope for more from this life than it can deliver. They act as suppressants to the feeling that everything might just be “meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14).
It’s hard to fight the feeling that a dusty end awaits us, that, “dust we are and to dust we shall return” (Genesis 3:19), but, sooner or later, we realize that all of our pursuits and all of our projects in this life must come to an end.
Dreams are easily shattered as we’re repeatedly confronted with the age old question of meaning and destiny. Even people with shallow assumptions about purpose ands meaning will feel the uncertainty and insecurity of life in this world.
“Happiness based on worldly security alone is endlessly vulnerable to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune which may come in the form of illness or inflation or the loss of a loved one. There are all manner of threats to the meaning of our lives both internal and external which can conspire to destroy it if it is inadequately grounded” (Clark Pinnock).
Where can we anchor our hope?
Christian faith offers a structure of meaning and hope based on unalterable love from God our Father.
We can say with confidence, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
Don’t miss the point that even our hope in Christ is not adequate if it is, “only for this life we have hope in Christ.” Such a narrow and limited hope would mark us as “people most to be pitied” (I Corinthians 15:19).
Faith in Christ secures for us “citizenship is in heaven.” “And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:19-21).
Christians locate their hope, not in a religion, but in a personal Savior – in Jesus Christ (I Timothy 1:1). The deep mystery we experience now is “Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
We share in the “hope of eternal life” and are designated by God, “heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 1:2;3:7).
We are among “those who have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (I Peter 1:3).
Press on in hope
This hope inspires us to press on in the face of distressing and discouraging circumstances.
Yes, it requires patience because in this world, “we groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies,” but, “we hope for what we do not see” and “we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:23, 25).
Finally, our hope is meant to be contagious — especially when it appears to lack circumstantial reason.
Persecuted Christians in the first century were encouraged to, “set apart Christ as Lord in their hearts” and to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (I Peter 3:15). Are people attracted to your hope?
Reaching for hope that is larger than this world is an intuitive reality to human beings. It reminds us that we were made for more than this life?
“Christianity is, among other things, the wonderfully good news that this life is not our whole story” (Robert Roberts).
We stand with those who “confidently look forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God — a better place, a heavenly homeland” and “God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:10, 16).
Jesus said, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that 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 14:2-3).
Prayers of benediction
- “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
- “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).