I sat in on a gathering of folks last night, and the topic of discussion was hope. For some hope is a difficult thing to grasp. It's kind of like a Star Wars movie... it seems wonderful and amazing and mind boggling and - well - unreal. That's the problem with hope. You find yourself wondering if it really exists or if it's some fantasy flying through your head like the Millennium Falcon.
Though I don't believe that Christians are blindly hopeful, there is certainly, as Barak Obama would say, an "audacity" to our hope. It takes a lot of nerve to claim hope in a world characterized by extreme materialism, extreme poverty, discrimination, violence, sexual perversion, broken marriage, environmental disregard, and a litany of other things that make me want to cash in my chips and get out of Dodge. It's crazy, in a world that cultures genocide, female circumcision and HIV/AIDS, that there would be any room for hope.
But the claim of the message of Christianity is, unashamedly, hopeful. What makes it even more audacious is that the object of its hope is unseen. Romans 8:24-25 says, "For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?" The point is well taken. Shouldn't it be said that if hope isn't audacious, it's not hope at all, but something entirely different? Isn't the whole point of hope its audacity?
I used to hope for a car. Now I have a car, and the mystery of its motorly goodness has well been revealed. Before I owned my own vehicle, the thought of driving a mechanized chariot seemed so alluring. After owning a car for several years now, the allure is gone, and all that's left is an overinflated car payment. The hope has faded, replaced by the harsh reality of $3/gallon gas, liability insurance and costly repairs. Truth be told, Dallas traffic has cured me of the desire to even want to drive.
Now, contrast this to a hope that is yet unseen. Unseen hope produces great longing. The desire to attain this hope is great, and the object of this hope is illustrious. For the Christian, this hope is found in the person of Jesus, because upon Him all the deepest hopes of man are placed. And what is the promise attached to this hope? Well, it's the same as the promise attached to the hope that Andy wrote about when addressing Red: “Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
This post is dedicated to my good friend, Stephen Presley. Thanks, brother, for always reminding me of the hope of the Gospel.