The song has rolled around in my head for weeks now and brought me much comfort. It takes its title, “Living Hope,” from this verse, “In his great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Christ from the dead . . . “(I Peter 1:3).
Hope must be living to be hope.
But we all know you can be living, and not have hope.
And that may be where many find themselves today. Especially as we face rising cases, which are now affecting younger people, financial troubles, family problems, grief, and any number of other challenges. Many are suffering from what the French might call “ennui”— a general dissatisfaction with life.
But if we look closely at the verse, we see hope comes through the resurrection of Jesus. Eugene Peterson put it this way in the Message, “Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now!”
The future starts now. We don’t have to wait for some far-off time for hope. I’ve written several times about beloved writer Elizabeth Sherrill here, and I want to go back and pull a few words forward from one of those posts. About a book she wrote entitled “All the Way to Heaven,” she writes it is “‘the story of how heaven, which I used to think of as an imaginary realm-in-the-sky, has become more real to me than the ground beneath my feet. Real in the past, real for the future, and best of all, real right now.’
Real right now―even in the middle of pain and feeling the earth is shaking beneath our feet.
In her book, Elizabeth quotes Henri Nouwen, who ministered to those suffering intellectual and developmental disabilities, ‘The cup of sorrow, inconceivable as it seems, is also the cup of joy. In the midst of the sorrows is consolation, in the midst of the darkness is light, in the midst of the despair is hope.’
Even our bleakest moments are not entirely without light. The glories of heaven pierce the shroud around us and reveal the goodness of God.
Some of you are going through those bleak times. We look at the year stretching ahead and wonder how we’ll make it. But friends, no matter what happens, God is good. Heaven is not just pie-in-the-sky but is meeting us here in all of our hurting places.”
God offers his consolation, light and hope to us and that hope is for sure a living hope.