I was thinking of some words I want to embrace as this new year begins to unfold with all of its uncertainty. Words that bring healing, not affliction, peace and not pain, perspective and not depression, and praise instead of fear.
So, I would like to just look at a chosen word. The Bible is filled with such words that bubble, ripple, and gurgle like a cool stream of sweet water through a parched and dry wilderness. I think that God often just wants us to drink from His fountain of words, all pointing to the eternal Word, Jesus, Who became flesh for us for our redemption.
The first word I want to consider, and it came to me in prayer a couple of days ago, is the word. “HOPE.”
The Apostle Paul told the church at Rome in Romans 5:5, that “Hope maketh not ashamed..”. The Greek word he used here is “Elpis'” and it means “expectation of good.” His use of the word “ashamed” comes from the Greek word “Kataheeskhoo” meaning dishonor or disgrace. So Paul is saying you are not disgracing or dishonoring yourself when you have every expectation of good things happening instead of evil or bad things happening.
Oh, how we need this kind of Biblical hope right now. It’s only when we see things through God’s word, as we are led by His Spirit that we will have this hope. Just look at how we should be viewing things through eyes of hope right now….yes, right now….today…this instant.
We’re in a worldwide pandemic, a plague of unprecedented proportions. How can you have hope with full clinics, packed emergency rooms and hospitals, the unknown future about your own safety and well-being, and so many that you knew and loved who are no longer with us?
But we Christians have hope. Did not Jesus say in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, there would be notable pestilences and plagues as we near His return? And did not He tell us in Mark 13 that in this time there would be great tumult and commotion upon the whole earth prior to His coming?
Listen to Paul tell us in I Thessalonians 5:5, that we are children of light, and not of darkness, and that day of Christ’s return should not catch us unawares. He says, “We are not of the night nor of the darkness.”
Paul even referred to that day of Christ’s return as “the blessed hope” in Titus 2:13 and called Christ’s return “glorious appearing.”
It may sound bizarre to some who call themselves Christians but who have ceased to pray and seldom open their Bible, yet the truth is that we are surrounded by, and the world is saturated with fulfilled last-day prophecy. The time is swiftly approaching. His time….we have hope!! We should rejoice in the midst of all these troubling things redeemed ones! Look up, and have hope; your redemption draweth nigh! Suddenly, without announcement, warning or alarm….He will come, and nothing will stop Him.
Finally, Paul told the Corinthian church that because “we have such hope,” we should use plainness of speech. This is not the time for Christians to be reluctant or shy in their testimony and witness. Tell everybody, be bold to talk about Jesus. Ask God to open doors for you to witness to them, and then boldly walk through those doors. Our world has lost hope. We who have found it…..must share it quickly.
We have hope, we are the hopeful, and we have reason to be that way!
Dr. David M. Griffis