The End Of Hope

Lamentations 3:24, ” ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I have hope in Him.’ ”

There is no worse death than the end of hope.” Such are King Arthur’s words to Guinevere just prior to what may well be his final battle. Hurting over the death of close friends, uncertain of what lies ahead, and trying to come to grips with newly discovered feelings of destiny Arthur acknowledges that loss of life is not the worst thing that can happen to a man. Having to live a life void of hope is worse than death. As long as a man has hope he can face anything that life may bring his way.

During the past 20 years of “professional” ministry I have met countless people whose lives are void of hope. They are going through the motions of life but hope has long ago departed their shores. Often they live in silent pain. They smile. They laugh at all the jokes. When asked they tell you they are fine, that everthing is well. But on the inside where no one can see they are withering away. Dying in a way that would make physical death seem merciful. Life has been hard to them. And hope has died.

Today I want to take a look at the subject of hope. Not the hope that we so lightly use in our current culture but the hope of the Bible. A hope that transcends every circumstance of life, a hope that endures in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, a hope that brings joy in the morning when the night is filled with tears…the hope that only God can provide. The hope that gives us the strength to go on when everything around us and in us tells us to “quit, it’s pointless, just lay down and die.”

The New Testament is consistent in it’s presentation of “hope.” Whenever you read the word hope in the NT it always means the same thing. Hope is never a question of “if” in the Bible. Hope is a certainty. It is something that God has promised to us. It will happen. The only questions involved are “when” and “how.” Apart from those two areas, the promised thing, i.e. the hope, is like money in the bank. It is there at work in the life of the believer. Period. For example, consider the promise of the Messiah. In terms of NT theology we would express it as the “hope” of the Messiah. Promised from the very beginning of the Bible, mankind lived in anticipation and expectation of God’s promise for a Messiah. It was never a question of “if,” it was only a matter of “when” and “how.” Both were answered in the person of Jesus Christ. The Messiah was unveiled in the fullness of time according to God’s perfect plan and timing.

What does all this mean for us? Just this. Indulge me for a minute. Take a breath. Seriously. Take a deep breath. Know what? You are still alive. You might wish you were dead. Some specific areas of your life might feel dead. For all intents and purposes, they might actually be dead. But the truth is that the principle of life is still at work in you. What does that mean? It’s not over yet. God is not finished working in your life. Not yet. It might feel like He has abandoned you but as long as you still have breath you still have hope. It’s not over. You haven’t reached the end. There is still more that is waiting to be written in the story of your life. And from years of experience I can promise you that Jesus always saves the best for last. It’s not a question of “if.” It it going to happen. God has promised never to leave you. Even now He is with you. And even though you can’t see it He is working all things together for good in your life.

Arthur was both right and wrong in his analysis of hope. He was right in the fact that there are some things worse than death. However, he was wrong when he spoke of the end of hope. Hope never ends. Not with our God. At times it seems elusive, invisible, far removed from our daily living. But hope never ends. It never fails. The God of hope cannot fail you. The God of hope will not fail you. Of this I am certain. Your day is coming. I don’t know “when.” I don’t know “how.” But it will come. In the meantime let’s join arms, bear one another’s burdens, pray together and look to God that He might increase our hope even when hope seems impossible.

Luke 1:37, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”