“For in this hope, we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:24-25)
When life gives you a lemon, make lemonade juice out of it and enjoy! That is a saying that is known across the lands. It means that life will hit us with big blows and make us desperate and seemingly without desire for the next day. Many young people in the past years in Kenya have known this truth in tangible ways. With leadership that has brought more debt to the country than any other, livelihood is like bitting stones for snacks. Making ends meet for a regular youth is a souvenir long lost!
The rate of gang-related violence perpetrated by youth is alarming at the least—an increase in grotesque gender-based violence and rampant murders. Many young ladies have opted for adulterous relationships to get their bread and butter. Human value is fading away, and we are now left with a generation that is an empty shell waiting to crack. The rate of drug and substance abuse is at an all-time high, leading to increased cases of depression and suicide. Is hope real? How does one get to have it in wanting times such as these?
“Hope” is commonly used to mean a wish: its strength is the strength of the person’s desire. But in the Bible, hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised, and its strength is in His [God’s] faithfulness.” (Adapted from Google search engine unknown source).
The folly of circumstantial hope
In the worldly perspective, hope is in the person’s strength or abilities. Someone is hopeful of getting a job because they know how well they have prepared for it and researched about it. They also know their academic prowess to achieve the task at hand; sometimes, they are “hopeful” to get that job because s/he knows someone. Therefore, it interprets for them in this way; as long as I have what it takes and expected of me, I expect things to go my way and secure the job. There is nothing wrong with preparedness; however, when hope is based on the things within our range, we know that failure is knocking at your door.
Circumstantial hope is based on the events that happen around us. For instance, a young lady has confidence because her father is a tycoon in the area with flourishing businesses. Others may have confidence that they live in a posh, gated community with affluent neighbors. Still, for others, it may be the social class and the power it gives, or physical strength and protection- taekwondo, boxing, or even just owning a weapon for protection. These things may help for a while, but we know that they are temporary and bound to disappoint (Jeremiah 17:5). It is like the weather; hot one day, then pouring heavy the next. Paul reminds us that all the visible things are temporary. (2 Corinthians 4:18, Romans 8:24-25).
When times are difficult like they are in our country, circumstantial hope is the biggest deception to hold. Life has proven that these things are not within our control; disease and cure, employment and earning, love and marriage, and whatever else. People have failed their families, friends and loved ones who had placed great hope in them because of position or status. Where is your hope? If it is on circumstances happening the way you anticipated, then you know your heartbreak is coming sooner than later. When that happens, you will have a crash landing that will leave you in tatters.
The strength of Eternal hope
The psalmist declared, “O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD, there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.” (Psalms 130:7) because he knew that with the LORD, hope is alive. Why is this hope eternal and crucial for us? Because of the one in whom hope resides and comes out- the LORD! He is the only eternal one who exists beyond what we see. He created what we see and touch and own. Everyone today needs to plug into this hope because it is tested, tried, and true. He does not fear bankruptcy, debt, death, or any idea of failure. Those who have hoped in him have never had to walk in fear amidst trying times. It is not because fear does not come or anxiety but that their resolve is on a higher level when they do.
When jobs are rare to find, and bread and butter is almost an empty promise; when family and friends let us down, and life deals us heavy blows, eternal hope causes us to look beyond these passing realities. Abraham hoped beyond all hope (his inability to physically sire a child at old age and Sarah’s deadness as well) when the angels spoke the promise (Romans 4:18-21). Eternal hope is our surest foundation because we have eternal God as the author and finisher of it. Therefore, hope in God because history gives us confirmation that he is trustworthy and dependable.
Lastly, eternal is simply that- eternal! It is beyond the weight of sickness, disease, suffering, and death. Yes! Once all is said and done, after our bodies have known decay, we shall live forever in his presence with no care, want, or fear. Psalm 16 amazingly rejoices in the LORD and the hope he gives to us. Jesus said that if we believe in him, though we die, yet shall we live (John 11:17- 27).
Why should you consider a shift of thought this day? Because both ideas of hope have a track record. Circumstantial hope (hope in our abilities and belongings) has evidence of constant failure. It will lead us into pain, depression, anger, and later death. Eternal hope has a track record as well that dates through all of eternity. Holding on to Jesus as the giver of it, we will find no shadow of turning with him as many in history have found. It is not about things happening the way we anticipate rather about knowing him who has the power to change both our hearts in times of trials and the things that may cause us trouble. Hope in the LORD!