The story has been told of a handsome
mature widower who took a cruise and after the
second day he noticed a woman who was constantly
staring at him. Finally, he got up the nerve, went
over and asked, “I noticed you looking at me. Do I
know you from somewhere?”
She said with a smile, “I’m just taken back by how
much you look like my third husband.”
He said, “Third husband? Wow! How many times have
you been married?”
She smiled and answered, “Twice.” Wow! Now that’s
some strong hope!
We all have hopes. We hope that we will pass our
exams; hope that we will get into our chosen
university; hope we will get that great job; hope we
will get that promotion; hope that we will get
married; hope to have children; hope for a
comfortable retirement; hope for health; hope for
happiness, and on and on. But sometimes hope slips
away from us.
Do you know what it feels like to have hope sucked
out of you? Most of us have been in a hope drought
at one time or another. And we all understand
hopelessness, where there seems to be no way of
escaping pain, heartache,
disappointment, regret, or death. The missing
ingredient in many lives today is hope.
You can live weeks without food, days without water,
but only a couple minutes without oxygen. Hope is a
lot like oxygen. Without hope, no one makes it very
far. Take away a person’s hope and we little by
little suffocate under the weight of our heartaches.
We slowly slip into despair.
Let’s first clear the air about the word itself. Our
common use of the word hope can tend to lead us
astray from the full meaning as it is used in
scripture. We carelessly say, “hope it doesn’t
rain,” or, “I hope I’ll get a raise at work,” or, “I
hope I win the lottery someday.” Not to be too
semantic, but many of those are actually wishing . .
. not hoping.
The word hope as used in the New Testament has
nothing to do with unconfident wishing, but with
confident expectation, or anticipation. Christian
hope is not fingers crossed—it is a “full assurance
of hope” (Hebrews 6:11).
Hope is powerful. Hope feeds our daily well-being
and gives us the energy we need to face life’s most
difficult moments. We all need more hope. Without
hope, we slowly die inside. God knew we would need
hope to be healthy. And Jesus knew he was the spring
of all such hope; real hope is found only in Him.
Wherever Jesus went out into the
community, people felt the presence of hope. Jesus
came to liberate the blind from darkness, the lame
from immobility, the sick from disease, and the
possessed from madness. He summons the dead to life.
Christ is the essence of hope.
Anyone can find it. Everyone is welcomed to come and
get it. Hope is freely available and for six weeks
this fall, we will be focused our efforts on that
goal. I believe the one thing we’re quickly losing
in our community is hope, but more
importantly, that our church can change that. We can
give people hope. We have the answer for all hope.
As I see it, hope is transferable. For those of us
who are survivors of this world’s storms and dark
nights, having passed through it and having lived to
tell about it, we are qualified to share our hope
Join us this fall as we explore the true meaning of
hope and experience the reigniting of our hope.
When the hour is the darkest; hope shines the
brightest. Hope is rising in Lincoln. Hope is rising
in our church. Hope is rising in us!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace
in believing, so that by the power of the Holy
Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
Upcoming Sermon Series:
Sept 16: The Identifying Mark of a Christian
Sept 23: The Struggle is Real
Sept 30: Getting Your Hope Back
Oct 7: Living Daily in Hope
Oct 14: Taking Hope to a Broken World
Oct 21: Hope is Contagious
[Ron Otto, preaching minister at
Lincoln Christian Church]