The last few years have been a testing time for all of us. At the beginning of 2020, who could have imagined a two-year global pandemic followed by a war with Russia — and all of the associated pressures on living costs, mental health, and social unrest?
Even in ordinary times, each of us deal with a variety of personal struggles. We may face feelings of emptiness or guilt, offence from others, lack of purpose, broken relationships, financial struggles, or hopelessness about the future. Jesus pulled no punches when he said, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33).
One of our passions at Australian Christians is to declare the hope that all people can find in Jesus. This is one of the big advantages of being a small Christian party. We don’t need to curate our message to appease secular tastes. In our stand for Christian values, we are not ashamed of the foundation those values are built upon: that Jesus is the hope of this world!
Consider some of the hope-filled promises of Scripture. Psalm 46:1 says that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” In a similar vein, the prophet Isaiah spoke these powerful words (Isaiah 40:31):
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
The apostle Paul is well known for his words of contagious hope. In signing off his letter to the believers in Rome, he said, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13).
Writing to his protégés Timothy and Titus, Paul described Jesus Christ as both “our hope” (1 Timothy 1:1) and “the blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). In other words, Jesus didn’t just come to bring us hope — he himself is our hope.
Full of anticipation about the eternal future we have in Christ, Paul told the Corinthian church, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9). The writer of Hebrews likewise urges believers, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23).
Indeed, this is just a small sampling of all that Scripture says about the hope to be found in Jesus.
What makes this hope so profound is that it isn’t limited to just this life. Yes, our worldly troubles weigh us down. We need hope in our daily lives to make sense of the world and press on through the stresses of family life, our jobs and careers, and living in community with others.
But so much more than this, Jesus offers us eternal hope in the face of our own fallenness. By word and deed, all of us have turned away from God, forgetting him and making idols out of the things in this world. We have sinned against him and carry guilt and shame for things in the past that we cannot change.
The apostle Paul sums up our desperate situation, explaining that we were “without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). But God had a rescue plan:
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7).
This world presents us with great troubles. Our sins, failures and inadequacies are numberless. But we can take courage because we have a greater hope in Jesus.
Knowing Jesus brings contentment regardless of the events going on in this world or the difficult circumstances in our lives. Nothing can destroy the hope we have in Christ because it is stored in heaven where no earthly power can touch it.
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