Regarding Scripture: I Corinthians 15.1-58
Hope is something very powerful, when one has hope one is able to endure the struggles of life. Take, for instance, someone lost at sea. Many people have lost their lives to the unmerciful waters, yet there are those who survive the hazards and seeming death while battling the elements against them. While it can be said, “It was not their time to pass on;” it can also be said that survivors survive because they did not allow themselves to die. They simply would not allow hopelessness to drown them – literally or metaphorically.
It is probably safe to say that each individual hopes they never have to face such life and death challenges as being lost at sea, yet there are times when people who have never been to sea feel lost and hopeless. Without hope, life is anguish. Without hope, life is dreadful. Without hope, life is hopelessness. Unfortunately, many suffer through this life never having the assurance of hope. Hope that life has direction. Hope that life has meaning. Hope that life has value. Hope that life is worth the struggle. Hope that life is more than the fleshly carcass that stands upright for but a twinkling of an eye.
There was a time when I tried to find hope through my physical life. I searched through occupations from retail to information technology. I hoped for fulfillment, meaning, and purpose. I found emptiness. I searched through entertainment from music to movies to the Internet. I hoped for pleasure, and sustained joy. I found emptiness. I searched through relationships, from dating, to family, to friends. I did find some contentment, harmony, and peace. What I found helped some of the emptiness, but I did not find complete fulfillment either.
Perhaps you are as I was, searching for hope yet feeling that life is like a sea of despair. Perhaps, your search for hope has led you down one of the following avenues of: mind altering substances, sensual contacts, shopping, business ambition, fame or fortune. The foreboding truth is that the pursuing of hope through the means and methods of physical life will return only emptiness; and it is emptiness that makes one feel hopeless – overwhelmed. I could state my belief as to why life is harsh, but my belief is no consolation. The only consolation is that each individual can find the beautiful majesty of hope, because we all want hope. We all need hope. But true hope will not be found by searching physical life. This is probably one of the greatest paradoxes of life.
Each person has an internal struggle, a yearning for something more than just being human. But this paradox is resolved only when the spiritual can transcend the physical. Of all the things I have experienced and studied, the only place I have been able to find hope in the middle of physical despair is in the resurrection of the man called Jesus Christ. While I certainly believe this statement made by Jesus to be true: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly;”1 it is the hope of life after death that truly gives me hope. Hope that I will see my God and my Savior. Hope of joining those who have struggled through this barren wasteland of despair. Hope of rejoining my family. Hope of no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain.2 There are aspects of life I find enjoyable and rewarding, but I rejoice and wait for the day when I can meet my Lord.
Hope for living comes from absolute knowledge that the Christ of the Scriptures is the Christ of history – these cannot be separated. The Christ of history cannot and never will be found in any tomb, because the Christ of history is the Christ of the Scriptures. Being that these two Christs are one and the same, I am certain that the Christ of the Bible has conquered our common last enemy – death.3 In the face of my enemy I, like Paul, can truly proclaim that death will be swallowed up in victory. Death has no sting and the grave has no victory. I am forever grateful to God for providing this victory, this hope, through the Lord Christ Jesus.4
If you are one who is struggling for the hope of living, it is my sincerest desire that your struggle lead you to find this everlasting hope. Truly, hopelessness is despair. May the Lord bless us all in our search for hope.
1 John 10.10
2 Revelation 21.4
3 I Corinthians 15.26; Acts 2.24
4 I Corinthians 15.54b-57