The frailty of the human spirit cannot survive without the expectation of something better. Since the beginning of time the desire for that which is beyond has brought man to the shores of a new world and touched the edges of space. A desire to know what is on the other side of the horizon compels the insatiable drive of man to reach past what he knows for what can be known. The bounds of the habitation of man does not allow him to see beyond the veil of death and remains wrapped in an enigma yet challenges his desire to know what is beyond. Death’s finality underscores the limits of what man understands of life. And then comes hope.
When God created man He made him in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27). Man is a spirit dwelling in a mortal body. Moses writes, “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Psalms 90:10). The body will die but the spirit lives on and this is where man must understand the true character of his nature. There is something beyond the grave. Life is not about the here and now. All that we see about us is temporary (2 Corinthians 4:18). Hope is the message from God that life is an eternal presence without end. The travails of this life are but a “light affliction” (2 Corinthians 4:17) and beyond the sunset of life is a new day of resurrection.
Hope is the knowledge that sickness is but a temporary malady. Lazarus suffered greatly as a beggar at the rich man’s gate but in death he was “comforted” (Luke 16:25). The faithful of the Lord were stoned, sawn in two and slain with the sword but with hope sought a homeland where God had prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11). The joy of hope is brought about by tribulation, perseverance and character (Romans 5:1-4). “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:5-6). C. A. Bartol said that “Hope is the parent of faith” and without faith we cannot be pleasing to God (Hebrews 11:6). How can we live without hope?
The comfort found in hope is lifting the eyes beyond life and seeing the favor of God bestowed upon His children. Death is not to be feared. The end of life is the beginning of resurrection. Paul best defined hope in Romans 8:18. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” The world is passing away but our hope in God does not. Pleasures of the flesh are only moments of desire fulfilled without lasting joy but hope in the eternal is everlasting. Jesus looked beyond the garden of Gethsemane and the place of the skull to the reward of sitting at the right hand of the Father. He lived with hope. He died with hope. He raised the third day to instill in all of us our hope of a new day.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith–the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:3-9).