What is HOPE? What does true hope look like? And what makes it relevant to you and me?
Hope is very often linked to wishing, dreaming and desire, but this is not its actual true meaning. The Bible confirms that to have hope is (a) to understand what God has promised us and (b) to confidently lean into the strength of his faithfulness to do all that he has promised. This is very different to wishing. Wishing implies by very nature that there is a chance of a promise not being fulfilled or not coming to pass; it lacks stability and dependability. It can leave us feeling as if on shifting sand when in times of trouble.
Often, the last thing we want to talk about in this painful space is God. Accepting that there is a God who says he loves us, when we are hurting so badly, can be a struggle within the context of our practical needs and physical pain. Feelings of helplessness and isolation make the message of Easter seem irrelevant and can leave us feeling trapped within our own stories. When in pain, we need a community. A body of loved ones outside our own ability who can express that hope, reach in and help heal the places that are vulnerable. What we need is the help of a hope greater than ourselves – a faithful friend who can hold their promise to us. So how do we even begin to make sense of hope in a world so full of pain, suffering and injustice?
Easter is God’s loving reminder of that hope! It is a reminder that we are not alone in this life of struggles since we have a hope that came to us in the form of Jesus. Jesus, the man, felt what we feel, grieved what we grieve and then went to the cross to die for all that we could not do for ourselves. This hope is now alive in us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is this message of Hope in which we can trust.
As we come to Easter, how does this look within our own families? What practices are precious to us when we think about this kind of hope and promise we have in Jesus? Many find Easter weekend a time to celebrate Christ, while others have different traditions. Whatever you do this Easter long weekend, I encourage you to find a clear space to slow down and celebrate all the things that you are grateful for, the things that give you hope. It may be children, family and loved ones, work, health, nature, spirituality… the list is endless. Reflect on the thing that’s most important for you as a family over this Easter long weekend.
My prayer for you is that this Easter sparks new life in you, one that knows there is a Hope in this world that we can access through the cross of JESUS. He is the CROSSover between death and life; death to hopelessness and life to a hope that does not disappoint.
May you know the peace that passes all your understanding and lean into the Hope for the world that does not disappoint. And whatever happens, don’t be alone. You are loved!