Millions are asking, sometimes in groans too deep for words, is there any hope for me? Will my life ever be a success? Will I ever find real love, or ever love others truly? Is there really, after all this disappointment, sorrow, and tragedy, any hope of everything working out okay in the end?
There are certainly enough false hopes, wishful thinking, and ill-founded optimism to go around. If we place our hopes in money, relationships, prestige, self-help techniques, or earthly security of any kind, we are ultimately bound to be disappointed—most often sooner rather than later. Is there any solidly founded hope not dependent on personality type or worldly circumstances that is actually accessible to the average person—to you and me?
I am very excited about what I have to tell you! In the midst of all this, no matter what, no matter how many, no matter how long, no matter how apparently hopeless your problems are, I know how real and genuine hope can be yours—today and always.
The really good news is that there is hope—for you—a hope that’s born and nourished through faith in Jesus. This hope is not based on wishful thinking or restricted to certain positive personality types; nor is it the outcome of psychological techniques or theological double-talk. It’s born only as we’re reborn, through faith and baptism, in union with Jesus. And once it’s born, it can grow and grow and grow until it reaches its completion as what is hoped for comes to pass.
Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, he who in his great mercy gave us new birth; a birth unto hope which draws its life from the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; a birth to an imperishable inheritance, incapable of fading or defilement, which is kept in heaven for you who are guarded with God’s power through faith; a birth to a salvation which stands ready to be revealed in the last days. There is cause for rejoicing here (1 Peter 1:3–6).
There really is cause for rejoicing here. The hope that’s born through faith in Christ is based on the real and awesome deeds and words of Jesus, demonstrated most strikingly in his resurrection from the dead. As we profess our faith in Jesus we become heirs to the promise of our own glorious resurrection from the dead, and that, in the end, is the only thing that can make it all worthwhile.
Sometimes the circumstances of our lives can seem completely overwhelming. That’s usually because we’ve never realized, or have forgotten, some of the most significant circumstances of our lives. Namely, that Jesus has offered up his life for us; he has risen from the dead for us; he is right now preparing a great heavenly inheritance for us; and he is interceding right now, for us, in the midst of all the circumstances of our lives.
The prayers of Jesus are powerful and effective. If Elijah stopped the rains in Israel for three and a half years as a result of his prayers, and if the prayers of a righteous person are powerful in their effects (James 5:16–18), just think how powerful Jesus’ prayers are, now, for us!
Jesus has not only shown us the way to eternal happiness; he himself is that way. He not only reveals to us the truth; he himself is that truth. He not only has come to give us life and life in greater abundance; he himself is that life. He is not only with us, but in us, and for us. He not only died on the cross so our sin and guilt can be washed away, but rose from the dead so all our tears can be wiped away, and sent us his Holy Spirit so our joy could be full. He is with us even now, no matter what we may be facing or experiencing. He not only has come to bring peace, but he himself is our peace. He not only founded a Church, which sometimes meets in buildings, but he founded a Church which is his very own body, his very own bride, a family of brothers and sisters bound for glory.
He is so powerful, so good, so loving and so wise that even our mistakes, sins and failures, even all the catastrophes and tragedies, can be used by him for our great good.
The mighty sacrifice of his life is powerful in what it has opened up for us. Right now, through baptism and faith, God is pouring his love and life into our hearts, through the Holy Spirit. And this is just the down payment of what he is preparing for us in heaven, when we join him, where he is, at our deaths or his second coming.
Let us hold unswervingly to our profession which gives us hope, for he who made the promise deserves our trust (Hebrews 10:23).
There is a profound link between faith, hope and love. Faith can be compared to the roots of a plant, hope to the stem, and love to the fruits.
Now that we have been justified by faith, we are at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have gained access by faith to the grace in which we now stand, and we boast of our hope for the glory of God. But not only that—we even boast of our afflictions! We know that affliction makes for endurance, and endurance for tested virtue, and tested virtue for hope. And this hope will not leave us disappointed because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:1–5).
It is in the spirit that we eagerly await the justification we hope for, and only faith can yield it. In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor the lack of it counts for anything; only faith, which expresses itself through love (Galatians 5:5–6).
In the last analysis the only thing that really matters in life is that we come to faith in Jesus, so hope can be born, grow and express itself in daily love.
This article is an excerpt from Ralph Martin’s booklet Is There Any Hope for Me?. In this booklet Ralph uses the promises of God found in the Scriptures to impart hope to you and those you love. He invites you to be renewed in your faith and live with imperishable hope founded on the resurrection of Christ and His Word.