Our Source of Hope

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!  For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!  Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

  • Romans 5:1-11

 

“The loss of hope and courage can have a deadly effect on man… Any attempt to restore a man’s inner strength in camp had first to succeed in showing him some future goal.”

  • Victor Frankl, successor of Sigmund Freud and a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp, Man’s Search for Meaning

 

 

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.

  • 1 Peter 1:13

 

 

As I have mentioned in a few posts during this Advent season, we need to look forward to the return of Jesus, but Jesus is also our hope today.  Paul points out that God loved us while we were in our sinful state.  Now, with our sins washed clean, can we not be even more loved?

 

I was never in a concentration camp, but many of us may have been in a seemingly hopeless situation.  Many times, our hopelessness springs forth from our impatience.  We want the suffering to end now.  Paul said that suffering produces perseverance.  You cannot persevere in an instant.  You have to hang in there, like the pictures of the cat hanging from a tree limb, for example.

 

When we sold our house in South Carolina, we had given up.  Yes, we lost hope, but the real estate agent made the last month’s mortgage payment.  She had hope in one last try.  Then, God allowed our house to sell, because we were looking to Him for deliverance.  If it had been a quick sale instead of two and a half years, would we have seen God’s hand in the eventual sale?  Possibly, but we are human.  It would be less likely.  A quick prayer of thanks, and moving on.

 

According to Paul, there is an added step to reach hope, that of developing character.  It is too easy to collapse when times get hard, but if we truly have faith in Jesus, we’ll see whatever suffering that we face as being only temporary.

 

If we have the right attitude, the right character, terminal illness is only temporary.  Jim Valvano, former NCAA basketball coach and ESPN commentator, said in his “Don’t give up… Don’t ever give up” speech, “Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.  I thank you and God bless you all.”  Jim Valvano lost his battle with cancer, but with that kind of character and a soul that lives on, did he really lose the battle?

 

Victor Frankl is not the only survivor of a POW camp or concentration camp to write about the hopeless person being the one who curls into a ball and dies.  It is the person with hope that has the strength to see tomorrow, and then the next day.  Each day building more perseverance, more character, and more hope.

 

Edward Mote understood the source of that hope.  He wrote this hymn in 1834, with the common tune of today being written in 1863.

 

“My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” or “Solid Rock”

  1. My hope is built on nothing less
    Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
    I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
    But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
    On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
    All other ground is sinking sand.
  2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
    I rest on His unchanging grace;
    In every high and stormy gale
    My anchor holds within the veil.
    On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
    All other ground is sinking sand.
  3. His oath, His covenant, and blood
    Support me in the whelming flood;
    When every earthly prop gives way,
    He then is all my Hope and Stay.
    On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
    All other ground is sinking sand.
  4. When He shall come with trumpet sound,
    Oh, may I then in Him be found,
    Clothed in His righteousness alone,
    Faultless to stand before the throne!
    On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
    All other ground is sinking sand.
  • Edward Mote

 

In this year of turmoil, do you lack hope?  Can you see a time in the future when brother is not at odds with brother?  Let us look solely to Jesus, our Solid Rock.  Whether He physically returns in our lifetime or He dwells within us today Jesus is our source of Hope.  Hope for today so that we have the strength to see tomorrow and Hope for an ultimate tomorrow when we will rest in His arms forever.

 

Remember the reason for the season.  We have Hope.  Jesus is coming.  Merry Christmas.

 

 

7 Comments

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  1. Amen!! And I love that old hymn! What hope in those lyrics! Great post.

    Like

  2. One of my favorite hymns. Thanks for sharing it and your strong faith with us. May God bless you and your family during this holiest time of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

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