“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.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
What happens when life doesn’t go the way you want? Your answer will tell you where your hope lies; where it’s truly anchored ….
There are all kinds of smaller things we can try to put our hope in, and many do; but the greatest hope available to every Christian is the return of Jesus Christ. One day “the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16–18). Every question will be answered. Every wrong will be righted. And we who’ve been redeemed will reign with Him for all eternity ….
Now is that alone not the most beautiful promise and reason to have hope? There’s a lifetime’s worth of hope in that. Not because it’s nice to think about in a sweetly spiritual way, or because it makes for a good pep talk from the pulpit on Sunday morning, but because Jesus is actually, literally coming back again. This is really going to happen! Our hope is founded in a sure and settled place if this is where we’ve anchored it …..
Sadly, however, each of us also deals with a lifetime of hardships and disappointments that can cause us to lose all hope if we’re not thinking like a believer. These ordeals run the gamut from family crises to financial worries, health scares, and everything in between; including perhaps the most earth-shattering of all: the death of a close loved one …..
But while any of these adversities can cause anguish and pain, and probably none so intensely as the separation and loss of death; each of them represents in its own way an example of life not going the way we wanted. We’re not happy with this new jolt or change of direction. We expected something better. This is not how we’d planned for things to go. And hence, our hope is shattered and we can begin to drift …..
But our reactions to these kinds of occurrences do more than just test our faith; they reveal where we’ve placed our hope. They tell us if our hope depends on a list of conditions that simply must be met or else we won’t be happy, or worse, think that we can’t go on any longer, or if we’re truly looking forward to the second coming of Christ more than to anything else in our lives. Truly, our response to seeing things taken away from us will tell the truth about our own heart condition and whether we are securely anchored or not …..
To experience waves of grief following the blunt-force traumas of life is normal, understandable, and even healthy in some instances. But ongoing despair denies the hope of Christ’s return. Where is our faith? Even if you’re dealing with concern over a spouse, child, or parent whose faith in Christ is in question, your hope should remain the same. Yes, work earnestly and pray with all fervency for their salvation. Love and lead your family well. But remember whose you are, and do not put your hope at risk for anyone. Your faith must not be shaken. The God who rules and owns the universe has given you good reason to endure any challenge of life, no matter how upsetting, demanding, painful, or impossible to understand …..
The great, unshakable hope of every Christian is the ever-nearer return of Jesus Christ. Anchor your hope there, believer. He is coming very soon ….
“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in You.” (Psalm 39:7)
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 62:5-6)
“We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You.” (Psalm 33:20-22)
Let us pray ~
Lord God, thank You for enabling me to trust You with every occurance in life, even those that feel beyond my ability to endure. I thank You that You don’t merely soften the blows of life with platitudes, but You infuse my heart with the rock solid assurances of Your truth, mercy, and total control over every event that touches me. I thank You for Your innumerable promises that I can find rest in and find peace. Help me place my hope where Your Word tell me to place it — in You and Your promise of an abundant life and and future with You forever in heaven. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen ……