Sometimes, things feel hopeless—tremendously, no-way-of-happening hopeless.
This has the chance of happening at any time, from the not-so-serious situation to the life-altering situation. Perhaps, you’ve faced a situation which is utterly debilitating. In those situations, it’s hard to hold on to the promises of God. Yes, I understand that God’s promises cover every aspect of my life, but when things are hopeless, it’s very hard to feel hopeful.
Last March, my father went to sleep and didn’t wake up. I entered the darkest time of my life. He was young, relatively, just 67 years old. He had been to the doctor a month before. He would walk four miles every day with my mother (proof from his iPhone’s odometer which showed 28 miles walked in the last week). My father went to sleep and he didn’t wake up and I was surrounded by darkness. I’m a pastor. On the Saturday he died, I had a memorial scheduled. I shared the hope we have in Jesus. I pointed everyone to the hope of the resurrection and the restoration of all things. Less than a week later, I would do the funeral for my father and continue to point everyone to the hope of the resurrection and the restoration of all things. It was Lent. Every Sunday, and in the extra services, I would share the hope we have in Jesus, His resurrection and the restoration of all things. I could share the Gospel but I couldn’t hear the Gospel. There was darkness everywhere I looked. Dad was healthy. He was strong. He was more likely to die from a car accident or a mugging than to die of “natural” causes. There was no reason for Him to die. God didn’t need him. I needed him. My mother and sister needed him.
I feel like Jesus’ disciples understood what I was feeling when my dad died. Jesus was more than just their teacher; He was their Savior. And then He died. When some of the disciples were fleeing the city, they shared their feelings with a stranger they met on the road who didn’t know anything about what had happened. “Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’ And he said to them, ‘What things?’ And they said to him, ‘Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.’”
We had hope…and then we didn’t…
The disciples continued though: “‘Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.’”
Things felt hopeless. Things felt so hopeless that the two disciples couldn’t even recognize they were speaking to that very Savior as they walked along! “And he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
Jesus revealed Himself to these two men. His presence destroyed the darkness and delivered hope.
After my father’s passing, it took months for me to be able to hear the Gospel again. I needed encouragements from family and friends to open my ears. There are still bad days, mournful days, but I grieve with hope.
Love hopes all things.
I have a Savior, who is stronger than death.
Elsewhere, Paul encourages us, “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope…”
We are different. We have hope.
Love hopes. When you see people flying, legitimately flying through the air, be prepared to see the hope-maker, the death-destroyer, the King of Kings who brings life and love—Jesus Himself. While you wait for Him, may you be filled with hope today and every day.
Hope would be at the top of my list titled “Things I Can’t Live Without.” I don’t know how people do it. I think you have to make stuff up to hope in, if you don’t have it, because this life can eat you alive otherwise. There’s so much junk, so much crap, so much ugly in this world and when it crashes into our lives, it feels like a tidal wave. Hope says, “You won’t drown. I’ve got you. I’m saving you even when it looks like walls of water and endless sea.” That hope is breath in my lungs. I need it to live.