As we approach Holy Week, there has never been a bigger need for hope in my lifetime. Hope seems to be on short supply (much like toilet paper!), but despair is easy to come by today. Even before the onslaught of COVID-19, we had lots of reasons for fear and anxiety.
In less than two weeks, people all over the world will gather (most likely in homes!) to proclaim a wonderful and powerful hope: “Christ is risen.” Pope John Paul II once said, “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” He was right, we are Easter people and we have every reason for hope. But, how do we move from despair to hope?
God wired us in such a way that we can’t live without hope. The farmer hopes for a good crop, the prisoner hopes to be released, the sick hope to get well and the lonely hope for companionship. Hope is the stuff of life. Hope keeps us going. You lose hope and your spirit dies.
In just one verse, the Apostle Peter reminds us about how we can have hope because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3
Easter is an event and a message that proclaims hope didn’t stay dead for long. In one miraculous act, despair was transformed into hope. Hope for the Christian is not wishful thinking or blind optimism. Hope is a very present reality because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus overcame sin, defeated Satan and conquered death. Hope is alive because the grave is empty! And because Jesus is still alive, so is our hope. That’s why Peter calls it a living hope!
Living hope gives us strength to endure whatever life throws at us because we know who we are and where we are going. We are sons and daughters of King Jesus and our citizenship is in heaven. Hope is alive because one day, Jesus will return to this earth and make everything right again. There will be no more COVID-19, death, injustice, pain, sorrow, tears, or war. This is why Christians have always prayed, “Maranatha!” which means, “Come Lord Jesus!”
For those of you who are followers of Jesus, don’t let your hope slip during this crisis. Keep your focus on the living hope. The Apostle Paul needed to remind his protege Timothy of this very thing, “For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” 1 Timothy 4:10
Let’s right now, wherever you are at, in prayer, set our hope on the living God. Pray this over your life today:
Father, I confess I’ve let my hope slip. I’ve been overwhelmed and discouraged because of COVID-19. Right now, I set my hope on you Jesus. By the power of your Spirit, replace my fear with faith and my discouragement with your living hope. In Jesus name, amen!
Grace and Peace,