The world we live in is confusing. It seems like everything is uncertain and it is all too easy to feel as though we are being tossed from one storm to the next. When we turn on the news there’s stories about Islamic State, local problems with alcohol abuse and violence, and personal tragedy. We see coverage of natural disasters, hear about poor economic times, and are bombarded with the gloom of impending climate change. At this time of year we suffer colds and illness, mental health issues are prevalent and sometimes we feel strains on our relationships with others. This is the world we live in but the question I have is ‘what gives you hope?’
It was only a couple of weeks ago that I learned the father of one of my friends needed heart surgery. This is just one of a list of people I know who have been affected by serious health issues. I imagine that you could tell a similar story. The thing I have found to be the source of hope comes from the pages of the Bible. The most natural place to find hope would be in the gospels as they tell the story of Jesus. This is certainly true but the theme of hope runs throughout the whole Bible.
Hope from Beginning to End.
Romans 15:4 says “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” This means that everything in the Bible has been written for us to help us keep on going. The Bible paints a grand picture that gives us hope whenever we find that life is tough. The epic narrative helps us to keep going because from start to finish it gives a vision of God’s perfect creation.
The opening pages of the Bible tell the story of God’s perfected creation which was marred by humanity. The story could have ended right there except that God offers us hope. He promises that One will come who would crush the serpent. This begins the great story of the Bible, the search for the serpent-crusher. Throughout the rest of the story, God acts on behalf of people time and time again. This of course reaches a crescendo in Jesus and his work on the cross but it is not the climax. The death and resurrection of Jesus is a vital chapter is the story. It is the way that people’s relationship with God can be restored but it is not the conclusion. The story of the Bible continues until it reaches a glorious consummation. Jesus work as the serpent-crusher reaches its climax as he returns to redeem all of creation. In other words what Jesus does is totally reverse what is was that humanity had marred. He will restore perfection.
The whole story gives me hope. God’s promise of a serpent-crusher gives hope. The way God has repeatedly acted for people gives hope. The way that Jesus has restored relationships with God gives hope. And the future of a perfected creation gives hope. What is it that gives you hope?