The Power of Hope

Galston, Glenorie and Hills Rural News - - Church News - Pas­tor David McKibben Gal­ston Sev­enth-day Ad­ven­tist Church

Hope is es­sen­tial to mean­ing­ful life. That prin­ci­ple is re­flected in var­i­ous say­ings such as: ‘Hope springs eter­nal in the hu­man breast.’ and ‘While there’s life, there’s hope.’

The re­verse is also true. If you shat­ter a per­son’s dreams, if you take away an in­di­vid­ual’s hopes, if you re­move that el­e­ment of an­tic­i­pa­tion from life, there is very lit­tle left. In fact, a sense of hope­less­ness can of­ten has­ten a per­son’s death.

Some years ago a pro­posal was made to con­struct a hy­dro­elec­tric dam across a pic­turesque val­ley in one of the New Eng­land states in the north-eastern cor­ner of the United States. The plan involved the re­lo­ca­tion of the in­hab­i­tants of a small town in the val­ley, be­cause the town would be sub­merged in the wa­ters of the new lake cre­ated by the build­ing of the dam.

This town was dili­gently main­tained, the sort of place that would fea­ture on a post­card or win awards for its beauty. How­ever, dur­ing the time be­tween the de­ci­sion to pro­ceed with the scheme and the com­ple­tion of the dam, the build­ings in the town fell into de­spair. What was once a pic­ture post­card place be­came a run-down eye­sore.

Why did this hap­pen? The an­swer was sim­ple. One res­i­dent put it this way, “Where there is no hope in the fu­ture, there is no work in the present.”

The power of hope gives us mean­ing in life and helps us to keep go­ing when noth­ing else can. All the ma­jor world re­li­gions con­tain that el­e­ment of hope, and Chris­tian­ity is no ex­cep­tion.

The Chris­tian faith of­fers hope: the blessed hope of the re­turn of Je­sus, the hope of life beyond the grave, and the hope of heaven, to name but a few. In the Bible God is de­scribed as the God of hope, and He wants us to be a peo­ple of hope. In his let­ter to the be­liev­ers in Rome, the apos­tle Paul wrote, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may over­flow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Ro­mans 15:13)

On the next few oc­ca­sions I want to ask some ques­tions about hope, and we shall see how those ques­tions are an­swered by the hope found in the Chris­tian faith.

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