Easter means the restoration of hope.
Someone has said, “We can live forty days without food,
eight days without water, four minutes without air, but only a
few seconds without hope.”
Speaking of the role of hope in our lives, Thornton Wilde said,
“Despair all too readily embraces the ills it foresees;
hope is an energy that arouses the mind to explore every possibility
to combat them.”
The people who were a part of the first Easter knew all about
the need for hope in order to be able to continue on. They had
knelt there at the foot of the cross watching the one who carried
all their hopes and dreams die.
They had listened as He said, “Father, into your hands,
I commend my spirit”, and then, they saw Him bow His head
for the last time.
Their guts had wrenched as the Roman soldier plunged the spear
into his side removing all doubt that Jesus was really dead.
They followed those who carried Him to the tomb, and when they
heard the resounding sound of the rock that sealed the tomb, they
knew that their hope was dead – sealed in the tomb with
the one that they thought was their Savior.
They knew what it was like to be hopeless. Some of us know that
same feeling of hopelessness. When we look at our marriage, we
see only despair. When we think about our children – whether
they are still young or full grown, we wonder what kind of a future
there is for them.
When we consider our life and the mistakes that we have made,
we are tempted to give up hope that anyone could ever love us,
forgive us and make something good out of our life.
My prayer for us is that we will experience that same restoration
of hope that those first century Christians experienced when they
came to the tomb and heard the words, “[Jesus] is not here;
He is risen just as He said.”
They discovered that there is hope beyond the cross. What we are
going through or whatever we have done does not need to destroy
us and steal our hope. We can hope again.
Beyond the cross, hope endures even through suffering. One of
the things that threaten to steal our hope is suffering. Suffering
has been a part of what it means to be human ever since sin entered
into the world.
And even though Jesus paid for our sins on the cross with His
own blood, still suffering is present with us and will be until
this world is a part of history.
We can let suffering steal our hope, or we can hold onto that
hope by concentrating on some of the positive things that can
come out of suffering:
Suffering can bring believers closer to Christ. Suffering teaches
us total dependence on Him. How many of us have been through circumstances
where we knew that we could not have made it through without the
Lord being there?
Suffering also brings people closer together. Six of the rescued
POW’s could have come home to America and their families
sooner than they did, but they chose to wait a few extra days
so that all of them would be healthy enough to come home together.
Why? Because their ordeal had developed a bond between them.
Suffering assures believers that they belong to Christ. Jesus
said that we should expect persecution and suffering. They persecuted
Him; He promised that they would persecute us. This will continue
until one day when God says that the cup is full, and His judgment
will be poured out.
Suffering itself and the attacks of the enemy confirm that I am
a part of God’s family. Suffering reminds believers that
this world is not eternal and it is not home. Suffering changes
believers and produces hope within us.
We usually say, “As long as there is life, there is hope.”
The truth is, “As long as there is hope, there is life.”
Every time that we make it over some obstacle in our life, it
gives us hope that empowers us to make it over the next obstacle
that comes along. When we are faced with a situation that threatens
to steal our hope, look back. Look back at all those other times
that we thought there was no hope. We made it through those times.
God is still the same as He has ever been, and His power is still
available to us. We can make it over. Let us avail of the power
of the resurrection of Jesus to overcome sufferings that we face.
Easter 2012 is now part of history. But its power is still available
to us every day of the year!
Need help in understanding what you have just read? Need prayer
or someone to talk to? Please don’t hesitate to give me
a call (204-633-2230), e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or better still
be my guest at our worship services every Sunday beginning at
10:30 AM at Church of the Living Hope, 235 Enniskillen Avenue,