It was Alexander Pope who wrote, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast. Man never ‘is,’ but always ‘is to be’ blest.”
In Jesus Christ, the “to be” has become the “is.” Some say that Jesus threw himself on the wheel of human history only to be crushed by it. Christians say that, on the third day, God raised him from death, and exalted him to the right hand of the majesty on high. His cross was not the bad end of a good man—it was a road traveled, once for all, by our now victorious Lord and Savior.
The resurrection of Jesus changes everything, for Jesus and for us. In 1st Peter 1:3 we read:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
It is because of Jesus that we “rejoice in the hope of sharing the glory of God.” More than that, it is because of Jesus that:
3 … we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.
Because of Jesus we have a hope for life after life, and we have a hope that the suffering of this life has meaning and purpose. Ironically, St. Paul and Nietzsche agree, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
But what about hope in this life? After all, there are those who say: “I don’t give a damn about life after death; I just want to know there is life after birth.” I want to see some good, right now!
Ironically, it is those who have hope for “life after death,” who have the strongest hope for “life after birth.” If we believe that God raised Jesus, we believe that God can raise the dead. If we believe that God can raise the dead,” then it follows we must believe that God can give us all that we need in this life.
God never promised his people a rose garden, but God sustained his son in the Garden of Gethsemane. The God who has numbered the hairs on your head will give you the strength to rest in the rose garden when you can find one, and negotiate your Gethsemane, when you must.
That is our hope, and hope is one of the Wonderful Words of Life.
Prayer: O, Lord, on this day, we pray for ourselves, and for those on our right and on our left, liberals and conservatives, wise and foolish, rich and poor, strong and weak, sick and well, confident and despairing. Fortify us with the hope that you would give, a hope that transcends all earthly concerns, deprives the powers of the ability to make us their prey, and enables us to master our own fate, through trust in the Master of us all, Jesus the Christ. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.