We appear to be suffering a great crisis of hope. It’s taking place loudly in politics and economies; it’s taking place quietly in the hearts of millions at this moment.
By hope, I don’t mean wishful thinking. I’m not talking about “holding a positive thought,” as one friend calls it. When I speak of hope, I mean the confident anticipation that goodness is coming. A rock-solid expectation, something we can build our lives on. Not the delicate and fragile hopes most people are trying to get by with.
What would you say is the great hope of your life these days?
If it is anything at all worth talking about, Christianity is supposed to be the triumphant entry of an astonishing hope breaking into human history. A hope above and beyond all former hopes. An unbreakable, unquenchable hope. But I’ll be honest—far too often what gets presented as the “hope” of Christianity feels more like a bait and switch. “We understand that you will eventually lose everything you love, that you have already lost so much. Everything you love and hold dear, every precious memory and place you will lose, but afterward you get to go to this New Place Up Above!” Like a game show, where you don’t win the car or the European vacation, but you do get some luggage and the kitchen knives.
The world doesn’t believe it. And there are good reasons why.
When you consider the pain, suffering, and heartbreak contained in one children’s hospital, one refugee camp, one abusive home or war-torn village over the course of a single day, it’s almost too much to bear. But then consider that multiplied out across the planet, over all the days in a year, then down through history. It would take a pretty wild, astonishing, and breathtaking hope to overcome the agony and trauma of this world.
How is God going to make it all right? How is he going to redeem all of the suffering and loss of this world . . . and in your own life? . . .
What we ache for is redemption; what our heart cries out for is restoration.