So I’ve been rewriting and reworking our neoxenos.org Web, and what an education it was! There’s tons of ministries underway, and lots of activity, yet all goes quite smoothly compared to anything I’ve seen before up here. Every ministry group is not only growing in size, but the maturity of people and the number of real workers and leaders just keeps increasing. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like that with all the bumps and bruises along the way, but I’ll take those pains any day compared to the major surgeries and critical injuries I’ve seen in the past.
It’s a picture of the biblical concept of hope in-motion, which I taught at CT last week. Most people’s hope is merely wishful thinking, but biblical hope is rooted firmly in history. To watch God answer prayers, change lives, uproot past failures and plant new seeds of growth all create a hope with certainty. Additionally, our hope is rooted in God’s historical work with humanity as evidenced in the resurrection, prophecy and the profound nature of the Scarlet Thread woven throughout His Word from beginning to end.
Hope is what I see working in people’s lives around me, and it’s infectious. We get our motivation and courage from hope, and hopeful people keep pressing forward no matter what. This what God says:
This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us… Hebrews 6:19-20 (NLT)
But there’s also many Christians living on low levels of hope. Why is that?
To be precise, hope is indirectly grounded in history, and there’s a bridge which connects history to hope. Faith is that bridge. Again, we’re talking about biblical faith, not the common definition of “blind faith.” Biblical faith is grounded in historical fact, and it means placing trust in someone (or something) trustworthy. Without faith, all God’s evidence and kindness will never produce hope, as it says:
For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. Hebrews 4:2 (NASB)
“The word they heard” was nothing less than the revelation of God given at Mount Sinai through Moses, and those people saw some serious miracles. I wish I’d seen the Red Sea get divided, and can you imagine the awesome roar when the seas caved-in on Pharaoh’s army?
But all that evidence failed to produce any hope for those people. They wandered aimlessly and died in the dessert without hope. It’s precisely what happens in Christian’s life who stops trusting in God’s goodness and instead trusts in less-certain influences.
So you see these two outcomes, both of which demonstrate the powerful motivation and courage hope instills: those who trust in God grow increasingly hopeful, and those who see His goodness and still won’t trust are slowly ground into the Wilderness floor.
In the days of my youth Robin Trower came out with a kickin’ song called “Bridge of Sighs” (provided for your listening entertainment). As I grew older, Jesus Christ showed me the “Bridge of Hope.” I can say with certainty I prefer the latter!
Listen to the “Bridge of Sighs” podcast, and think about it…
What does it mean?
- If I’ve lost motivation somewhere along the line, I need to examine where I’m placing my trust. I’m missing that “bridge of hope”.
- If my faith is growing stronger, that means my courage and motivation is growing stronger, and that should be evidenced in my forward momentum.
- Hope triggers risky steps forward. When I have a “sure and steady anchor” I’m willing to invest my time, emotions and effort in loving yet another “risky” non-Christian or baby Christian: I may get burned, but probably I won’t get burned. That’s what hope says. And even if I do get burned, I know it’s right and true to risk my security like that, and God will “bandage the burn” for sure.
- If I get slammed to the floor, I can get back on my feet if I have hope.
- Hope arising from my personal relationship with Christ means I can be courageous with anyone and anything.
- This is a really cool fellowship, and their hope is contagious!
If you can think of another implication for this “bridge of hope”, I would be interested in hearing about it. Leave a comment below…
- The Laodicean Revolution
- The Identity of Hope