Hope – October 2018

Pastor’s Column

Hopelessness.

The belief that there isn’t possibility. That things cannot get better. That life cannot be good.

Despair seemingly so prevalent in our world today.

The two beautiful teens who took their own lives last month.

The monstrous issues of homelessness and poverty, right in our own backyard.

Political divisiveness with no end in sight.

So many loved ones we all know fighting unfair illnesses, both physical and mental. Or saddled with terrible grief. Or brokenness inside hearts, or couples, or families.

From environmental issues to human rights issues to the break-neck pace of life, to so many, many people who live out their days seemingly without knowledge of the love God has for them.

Hopelessness is everywhere.  If you’re like me, which is to say human, you probably experience it from time to time yourself.  Maybe even a lot, when life gets hard.

That’s why, as Christian peoples, it’s so important we keep our eyes, hearts and minds fixed on the message of God’s love in who Christ is.  In a world with so much suffering, and darkness, and death, to remember that God cares – and Jesus is the proof. That God cares so much He sent His own life into the world, to take our place in death, and to restore to us what we have lost in this sin-sick world: hope.  Hope of new life. Hope of reconciliation with God. Hope and a future.

And hope that God’s Holy Spirit is here with us, right now, in the thick of things, not distant from hurt or suffering or shame, but gifting us with grace and mercy and truth and empowering us toward holiness – those good choices God invites us all to make.

God gives a resounding answer to our despair. And His answer is to restore hope.

Because when we use that word “hope,” it’s not an uncertain hope, like, “I hope the Seahawks win,” or a fleeting hope, “I hope the ‘check engine’ light in my car goes out on its own,” but rather it’s a certain hope:  “Jesus died and rose. And so shall we.” “Jesus defeats sin, and lives in me.” “God loves me, and Jesus proves it.”

Where do you need to be reminded of that hope we are offered in Christ? Where is despair unchecked in your life?

And who around you needs some help, to have someone point a little light into their darkness?

Where might the Holy Spirit be tugging at your sleeve, or your heart, encouraging, “Talk with that person! See them in their plight! Pray with her! Share with him! Show them you care! Show them I care!…”

For God has given us a sure and certain hope. And our community, our world, the people around us – they need to hear and see that there is hope to be found.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

            For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.  Romans 8:24-25

            Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.  Romans 5:1-5

What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.  Luke 18:27

Grateful to be on the journey of hope with you,

Pastor James Murphy