Hope
 

In these days of stay-at-home orders, business closures, park closures, etc., many have difficulty being hopeful about the future. God created us to be people in community. Our way of life has been interrupted by a source that no one expected.    The despair people are feeling is real and has caused a significant rise in suicides in some places. It is hard to maintain hope. One reason for hopelessness and despair is where you are looking.

I want to ask you today what you are hoping for.  Do you hope for a good family?  Do you hope that you get rich?  Do you hope for good health?  What do you desire most in life?   Do you feel safe today?  Are you afraid of what life has to offer you?  Maybe you woke up this morning hoping beyond all hope that you could just be happy.  Would any of these things make you happy?  Oh, they might for a short time.  What about money.  We want lots of it.  But that isn’t enough, we always want more.  We will not be happy with what we have today.  What about your health?  This can be a temporary thing as well.  Who knows how long we will be healthy, especially these days?  True happiness cannot be found in our health.  How about our families?  Can we find true happiness in our families?  Do you wonder why all your efforts to find lasting hope seem to come up empty?

The Bible tells us that true and lasting joy can lonely be found in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  In fact, we are created with a need for this relationship.  Our problem is that we try to meet that need with things that will not satisfy.  Evangelist Billy Graham once said, “We are all created with a God shaped vacuum within us.”  God is the only one who can fill that need.  Jesus is God’s way of filling this emptiness.  We have been given the wonderful opportunity to know God through His son Jesus Christ.  In the Gospel of John Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the father except through me.”  If you want real joy, real peace, real comfort; they can be found in a relationship with God through Jesus.

The problem we have is that we are natural born sinners.  This is not something that we like to talk about much but, nevertheless, it is true.  Our sinfulness separates us from God.  The prophet Isaiah says, “Our sins have hidden His (God’s) face from you.”  This would be an insurmountable obstacle if it weren’t for God’s love.  Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  In His amazing love, God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.  Wow!  Instead of having to pay the penalty for my sin, Jesus did it for me!  In fact, the Bible tells us that there is nothing that we can do on our own to be accepted by God.  There is no amount of good things we can do; no amount of religious activity is enough; no level of morality high enough to enter into a relationship with God.  If this was all there was to the story it would be sad indeed.  The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”  What a great gift!

Whenever we are given a gift, we have to receive it.  This is also true of the gift of salvation.  To receive this most precious gift we must recognize that our sinfulness has separated us from God and believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins.  The Bible says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”  It is in a relationship with God through Jesus that you will find real hope.
 
~Pastor Farrel