The Fall of Hope
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD” (Jeremiah 17:7, NKJV).
The Greek Philosopher, Thales, is credited with saying, "The most universal thing is hope, for hope stays with those who have nothing else." The old philosopher made his point in that there are times when hope is the only thing that remains when everything else is gone. But for vast segments of the world's population‑‑especially those who have nothing left but hope‑‑even hope seems to be dying.
For thousands of people in Africa and Eastern Europe, political conditions seem to drain the very buoyancy of hope from their lives. War, famine and disease leave in their wake suffering, despair and untold agony. True, Communism collapsed but the poverty and corruption left behind in its wake are to many a fiercer enemy. In the Middle East several million refugees ask themselves, "Will life ever return to normal?" But then we have to ask ourselves, "Is there such a thing as normalcy in the world anymore?"
Rudyard Kipling once asked the question, "When earth's last picture is painted, will it be a picture of despair?" Whether it is the world's political situation, the economy, the environment, or the gloomy forecast for the future, there is a lot of despair on the landscape today; but in spite of it all, there is hope‑‑not necessarily coming from the council chambers of the United Nations or the diplomatic envoys that shuttle from world capital to world capital, or in the rosy‑eyed forecasts that come from a few politicians.
The Bible says, "Anyone who is among the living has hope" (Ecclesiastes 9:4). The writer of Scripture knew that the only real hope in a hopeless world is in the hope that comes from God Himself. Writing to the Corinthians, Paul said, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable..." (I Corinthians 15:19, KJV). Paul saw the Christian hope reaching across the landscape of despair to the very presence of God Himself. It gave him an assurance that there is more to life than the hopelessness of life today.
How is it that a Christian has hope in a hopeless world? Two reasons: First, he believes that there is hope for the present because of God's power to change the circumstances of despair. That is why Charles Allen, a noted writer, said that the man who gives up hope slams the door in the face of God.
Read the biographies of men and women such as Richard Wurmbrandt and Corrie ten Boom‑‑both of whom spent years in prisons‑‑and you will learn that hope is born of prayer. Hope in God is not wishful thinking but is based on the sure and certain promises of God.
Secondly, a Christian has hope in an otherwise hopeless world because he is sure that death is not the end of existence, and that confidence gives meaning to life‑‑no matter how difficult or desperate‑‑in the world of today. The book of Hebrews in the New Testament talks of that hope, which is an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast (Hebrews 6:19).
Where is your hope today? If your hope rests only in men, or governments, or programs‑‑no matter how worthy‑‑you really have not much hope to live for. However, if your hope is in God, and you will trust Him, He will be a refuge from the stormy tempest and a hiding place from the storms of life. Yes, Jeremiah, the prophet of old, was right when he wrote, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord" (Jeremiah 17:7NKJV).