Hope for the Hopeless
by Gary Dyksterhouse
“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
A few years back, in my accountability group on Tuesday mornings, we all agreed to memorize the entirety of Romans 8. It took us several months, we had many failed attempts, but eventually the entire group was able to recite the full chapter sequentially. That chapter of the Bible was chosen primarily because it is such a full picture of the Gospel, a full picture of the struggle, and a full picture of the security of our hope.
“For in this hope we were saved” is referencing our desire to be adopted into God’s family fully one day when we see Him face to face. It is referencing the beautiful and unbelievable truth of this world, that the Creator God condescended toward mankind and chose to make us a part of His family, His plan. We can have confidence in that future, we can have true hope.
Hope seems like such a strange concept in modern America. Everywhere we turn, our leaders are preaching hopelessness. Perhaps it is because fear is such a powerful motivator, but no matter the news station, no matter the politician, and almost no matter the public figure the message is almost always the same:
“Your situation is hopeless. Your ability to counteract the forces against you is non-existent. Turn to me or turn to my ideology to save you from your overwhelming enemies.”
The Gospel teaches us an entirely different narrative and it is so important to constantly remind ourselves and remind our brothers and sisters in Christ that no matter the circumstance, we have hope. All the wealth, all the prosperity, all the social progress, and all the freedom of the United States can’t stop Satan from attempting to dig his claws into our collective psyche, but the Gospel provides the perfect antidote.
This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone, but Jesus thought this out well before the year 2021. In Matthew 4, Satan decides he is going to try and crumble Jesus’ earthly ministry and plan for redemption. His tool of choice was fear, which is the opening sentence to hopelessness. Fear of hunger, fear of insignificance, and fear of failure. In all three instances, Jesus responded with Scripture. Jesus was pointing us to where our hope can always be found in the face of fear and hopelessness - the Gospel.
As we enter 2021, with new political tumult, with a pandemic that seems never-ending, with hurts and distrusts of the past year still readily available in our minds, and with the sometimes overwhelming uncertainty of what is to come next; be encouraged that, as Christians, we have the ability to see this world with an eternal perspective. We have been adopted as sons and daughters into the family of the Most High. The Creator of this world has chosen you, and has validated that choice by sending his Son 2,000 years ago to pay the price. More than ever, we can live with the hope of the Gospel, hope for a world that is not marred with the sins and failings of our common humanity, hope for a Savior that was and is to come.
“So, we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light, momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4: 16-28