Revival of Hope
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I don’t know about where you live, but where I live it seems like a lot of people are feeling pretty hopeless about their futures.

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Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

Everywhere they look bad things are happening, and they don’t feel like they have any control over their own lives and their own futures.

According to Tara Parker-Pope of the The New York Times (May 2013), “suicide rates among middle-aged Americans have risen sharply in the past decade.” Here are the stats behind this trend:

“From 1999 to 2010, the suicide rate among Americans ages 35 to 64 rose by nearly 30 percent.
“More Americans now die of suicide (38,364) than car accidents (33,687). That’s 3,026 more people who die from suicide each year than in car crashes.

“The most pronounced increases were seen among men in their 50s, a group in which suicides jumped by nearly 50 percent.

“The suicide rate for middle-aged men was three times higher than for middle-aged women.

“Researchers claim that the reasons for suicide are often complex, but this article focused on two factors—the stress of the economic downturn and the widespread availability of prescription painkillers. But it also hinted that deeper issues like failed expectations and a loss of hope might be a root cause for the increase in suicides. Dr. Julie Phillips, a researcher from Rutgers University, says, ‘The boomers had great expectations for what their life would look like, but … it hasn’t turned out that way.’ Dr. Phillips warns that future generations will be facing the same conditions that lead to this sense of despair.”1

How do you feel about your future? Do you ever feel hopeless? I think most of us do from time to time. What I find though, is that those hopeless feelings catch up with me when I start looking at my life here on earth and forget that Jesus has promised something better.

I often wonder how it would be to live without the hope of Jesus and Heaven. Have you ever thought about that? It’s hard for me to imagine because I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know Jesus. I am grateful for that blessing. But many have come to know Jesus later and have had to live without that hope.

I read a story about a man named Laureano and his wife, Consuelo. In 1966, they decided they had had enough of Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

They spent several months collecting bits and pieces of scrap metal that they could put together to make themselves a little boat … a very little boat. It was hardly big enough for the both of them – more of a kayak, really. It was powered by a little lawn mower engine.

They left Cuba in September, sitting back to back in their boat, just wearing their swimming suits. They could only fit enough food and water for one or two days.
It turned out that they floated out in the middle of the Straits of Florida for more than 70 hours before the U.S. Coast Guard finally rescued them somewhere in the Florida Keys.

Why would two people take such a risk? They could have starved to death, or drowned, or been eaten by sharks.

When someone asked Laureano that question many years later, this is what he said,

“When one has grown up in liberty, [you] realize it is important to have [freedom]. We lived in the enormous prison which is Cuba, where one’s life is not worth one crumb. Where one goes out into the street and does not know whether or not one will return to one’s home, because the political police can arrest you without any warning and put you in prison. Before this could happen to us, we thought that going into the ocean, and risking death or being eaten by sharks, is a million times better than to stay suffering under [political oppression].”2

Laureano and Consuelo had no hope of a future in Cuba; they had to get to a place where they could have hope.

You and I don’t have any hope of a future on this earth. We are living under the cruel and unreasonable government of Satan. Under his regime, there is no hope for anyone. Our only hope for any kind of future is through Jesus.
Zechariah paints a beautiful picture of our lives in the New Earth in Zechariah 8 (yes the whole chapter – it’s not that long, you can read it.)

Here are some of my favorite parts:

“Thus says the Lord: ‘I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, the Mountain of the Lord of hosts, the Holy Mountain.’
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each one with his staff in his hand because of great age.
The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.’” Zechariah 8:3-5

Isn’t that a great picture? Jesus living with us in a new place where there is no sin. That is certainly something that I hope for.

When this world gets too much for us, there’s something we need to remember.

Sometimes it feels like I’m watching from the outside
Sometimes it feels like I’m breathing but am I alive
I won’t keep searching for answers that aren’t here to find
All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong
So when the walls come falling down on me
And when I’m lost in the current of a raging sea
I have this blessed assurance holding me.
All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong
When the earth shakes I wanna be found in You
When the lights fade I wanna be found in You
All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong.”3

My hope is in Jesus. Is yours?

  1. Tara Parker-Pope, “Suicide Rates Rise Sharply in U.S.,” The New York Times (5-2-13)
  2. Matt Woodley, managing editor, PreachingToday.com; source: From a plaque and display in the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia
  3. Jason Roy, Where I Belong, Listen to the Sound, 2011
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Comments

Revival of Hope — 9 Comments

  1. [Moderator note: please use first and last names when commenting on this site. Thanks!]

    God loves us so much to have given his son to die for us and also he has planned such a beautiful home for us to live in. We live in a world where bad news is the order of day and good news we get never lasts before the devil twists it around to use it against us.
    Why don't you and I join hands to make heaven our target? Our home is heaven, our Father is there and lovely enough he can do anything for his beloved. Enjoy your journey to heaven as am enjoying mine.

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  2. President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” But can the weapon against fear be fear itself? I’m not sure. You can’t extinguish fire with fire, nor can you stop flooding with more water. The only weapon against fear is prayer. I am a living witness of this. It’s natural for us to be fearful of the future since we’re born in sin. But if we get down our knees and ask God to take the fear away, guess what, He will take it away and replace it with courage, serenity, peace and, most importantly, trust.

    I think fear is offensive to God. Try to see it from His perspective: He emptied Heaven and gave us His son; He kept silence in excruciating pain when His Son suffered on the cross. He experienced unutterable pain for you and me. And here we are worrying, fretting, fearing over temporal, trivial, fleeting things of life. That conveys to God a message of how distrustful of Him we are; how we don’t even truly believe He sent His Son for us. It’s very hurtful to God.

    Again, take it to Him in prayer and ask Him to take the fear away. He took mine away. I get emotional when I think about it. In fact, I remember the time and the place I pleaded with Him, crying like a baby, to take it away. And within a week of that prayer, He took it away and replaced the feeling with courage, confidence and self-validation and self-worth. I am a child of the King. You are too. So let’s act like it.

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      • I want to also thank Newton for sharing his thoughts. I really agree with what he is saying and I feel like when I worry it reflects my lack of trust in my Heavenly Father. I think of my kids still young and trusting of their parents to care for their every need. My kids don't worry about food, shelter, money or their future because they trust that their parents will take care of those things for them. I can't imagine how I would feel if my daughter came up to me and told me how worried she was about tomorrow or her future. I would probably feel hurt just as Newton said God feels hurt when we worry and don't trust in Him. My prayer will be for us as a church to model a calm assurance and peace amid the chaos of this world so the world will wonder after us and seek to know the source of our peace and come to know Jesus.

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  3. What amazing to know that God's LOVE transient from generation to generation in patient hoping to see all return to Him in repentance and righteousness.
    As we study this week lesson may he fulfill His PROMISE of OUT POURING of the HOLY SPIRIT on all flesh this year and always till Christ come.
    I need prayers for sustenance of my Faith.

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  4. It took me a while, many decades in fact, to understand that the dictionary antonyms (opposite) of the word fear such as liking, fondness, etc. are not accurate within the context of the great controversy.

    In fact the bible demonstrate that the opposite of fear is faith. Faith in the Lord gave Joshua strength and courage. (Joshua 1:6)

    Faith gave Sarah the ultimate "job", the one she had been waiting for her whole life, that of bearing and caring for a child. (Remember it was women sole responsibility then).

    Although David was sometimes afraid of dark times, and he had many, faith in the Lord brought him light and hope (salvation). (Ps 27:1)

    And to my amazement I read "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Prov 9:10). What a wonderful God, we can hand him over our fears and He blesses us in return!

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    • Maria, I can remember many times in the past where we have tried to reconcile Prov 9:10 ("The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom") with texts such as, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear" (1 Jn. 4:18 NKJ) and ended up with redefining fear as respect or some other similar word.

      To me doing so is rather artificial. Rather than trying to redefine the word I think we should see it as being used in different ways in the Bible. When we see a warning sign it usually doesn't cause us to shake in fear but gives us a sense of caution which is a mild form of fear. We tend to fear danger and that is good. It was built into us by God who could see that if we didn't have any sense of fear we would do some very stupid things.

      I remember Evil Knievel, a dare devil cyclist who lived most of his life in Butte, Montana. Such people suppress fear for the sake of wealth and for him his life ended in Florida living on pain killers because throughout his life he had broken just about every bone in his body with some of them being broken several times over. To me that is insanity. In this respect fear has a positive side to it but when it gets out of control in times like a building fire where a panic sets in or when there is no real reason for it then it becomes bad.

      When Jesus said, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt. 10:28 NKJ) He was putting fear in its right place. If we are going to fear anything at all we should fear the right thing like fearing authority if we do something wrong (Rom 13:1-4). In this world of insanity fear is necessary; without it socially we would go crazy, without restraint, like rabid dogs.

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      • I believe that Joseph demonstrated the true "fear of God" when he responded to temptation by saying: "...how can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?!" He feared to offend the One who had poured out such great blessings and prospered him while being a lowly slave in a heathen land. He recognized God's goodness towards himself and did not wish to disappoint or misrepresent his Redeemer.

        Jesus demonstrated the results of such "fear of the Lord" by sleeping in a sinking boat in a terrible storm. This "fear" of God can only result through a complete faith that works by love.

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