Pathway to Hope #6
The Living Hope.
Something you may not know about me is that I love rock climbing. It’s something I have done for many years—before cancer and afterwards, too. Beyond the thrill seeking part, I also like the technical elements.
In climbing, one must often rely upon anchors built with rocks, trees or even steel bolts, to use to hang the rope from and protect you from falling. Often, the anchors are only as strong as the object in which they are placed. In other words, if I use massive oak tree as one of my anchor points, it’s a lot safer than a puny bush or crumbly rock. Believe me, when you are 100 feet off the deck, these things especially hit home!
This illustration applies to hope, too. Just like rock climbing anchors, your hope is only as strong as the object you place it in.
If you “hope” a chair will hold you and then it collapses when you sit in it, how reliable was that hope? Not at all.
Therefore, we must place our hope in the most reliable object possible. And there is none more trustworthy than Jesus Christ, which the Bible refers to as a rock. In other words, the key to hope is not found in philosophy or even a religion. It’s a person!
Jesus is a historical Jewish man who lived on this earth thousands of years ago—a life well- many historical texts and especially the Bible. More than just a man, he was God’s own son, born of a virgin, and eventually died by Roman crucifixion.
Maybe you don’t know much about Jesus, so let me explain a bit more. Those who know God believe that Jesus was not just a man, but also God’s Son (for more about who Jesus is, read Beyond Blind Faith). He is the foundation of hope, and this hope is living.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”1
Did you catch that? The hope of Jesus is something that is vital and active now—not just a something from history. Though he died, he was raised to life again (resurrected), and then ascended into heaven. Today, he lives with God the Father, and we can have a relationship with him.
Here’s why Jesus is so hopeful: For one, he conquered death.
The thing about cancer that makes it so frightening is that it forces us to face our own demise. Everybody dies, but cancer brings it faster—often much faster.
When you place your hope in Jesus, you place it in someone who defeated death, because he rose from the dead. As written in the Bible,
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”2
When you place your hope in Jesus, you are trusting the one who has power over death—including your own. This power is now on your side. And he knows the number of your days as he knows everyone’s.
Jesus is also a healer. The Bible mentions story upon story of Jesus healing sick people.
“And he continually performed (miracles of healing) on those who were sick.”3
His power was not limited by whatever medical condition. He healed them completely and continually, with love and compassion.
Which highlights another attribute: Jesus is loving and compassionate. In fact, his love was the crux of his teaching. As Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.”4
Don’t you want someone with that kind of power and radical compassion in your life?
Jesus is ready to walk with you.
Jesus helped me many times on my journey. In the big picture, he gave me hope, which led to a positive outlook which has been medically documented to help patients. More than that, he helped me through the grind of treatment, giving me strength to endure chemo, as well as help I didn’t even know I needed, such as providing an insurance glitch to help me get a costly procedure in a quick timeline.
Of course, he didn’t instantly take away my cancer, though I’ve heard of him doing that for people. What he did, was walk patiently with me.
Yet the most hopeful thing about Jesus isn’t even his power to heal or that he conquered death. It’s how he redeems us. Redeem means to purchase out of slavery.
And what are we enslaved to? To be born a human is to be born broken and sinful. By “sin” I mean we make mistakes and we are not all we can or should be. Instead of being hopeful, we often despair. Instead of loving others, we hate. Instead of living free, we get addicted. Instead of giving life, we take it from others. Even if we don’t actively harm others, sometimes our passive indifference can cause its own type of harm.
We all have darkness inside of us.
Yet, Jesus erased our mistakes and shone his light into our darkness, by dying on the cross for our sins (for more see Knowing God Personally). It doesn’t mean we no longer struggle, but our biggest problem is already solved. Through Jesus, we are free to have a relationship with God. And the result of this relationship, is hope—the kind that is real and lasting.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope.”5
Indeed, God springs forth with hope, and he wants you to have it, too. Through Jesus, we lay hold of it.
In the final Pathway to Hope, I’ll explain how you can experience this hope each and every day.
Yours for hope,
Founder of Hope Has Arrived
Three action steps:
Ponder: What aspects of Jesus, the Living Hope, most compel you?
Remember: Your hope is only as strong as the object you place it in.
Consider: these words of hope…“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge.”