The world is a scary place, you know? People in our church family—including some of you, no doubt—are struggling with different kinds of anxieties and concerns today. Perhaps it’s an upcoming medical test, a troubled marriage, or tension and stress at work. Unfortunately, fear is part of what it means to be human—at least in the world as we experience it now.
But God offers a different way. Permeating the Bible from beginning to end is something called hope. I’ve found it fascinating lately how much it’s mentioned, and particularly in the last few chapters of Acts as Paul appears as a defendant before various councils and rulers.
Notice especially the bold-faced type in the passages below:
Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” – Acts 23:6
But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. – Acts 24:14-15
other than this one thing that I cried out while standing among them: ‘It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you this day.'” – Acts 24:21
And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead? – Acts 26:6-8
For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain. – Acts 28:20
Notice that Paul connects hope with the resurrection of the dead. In other words, the hope that we have is that this world isn’t all there is. Because Jesus was raised, we know that there’s a coming resurrection where God will make all things right. That changes us.
It’s important to note that biblical hope isn’t that everything will work out here and now as we want, but rather that as God’s children we know that it eventually will.
YOLO—“You Only Live Once”—is, perhaps, a catchy motto, but it’s not the way we live. And knowing we will always live gives us a kind of peace and confidence that comes when we know that God created us for something more.