But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15
Coach: We started with 68 teams then they played some games, four had to go, leaving 64. What is half of 64?
Player: Hmmm… 32
Coach: What is half of 32?
Player: Hesitantly 16… sweet 16
Can you guess the scene?
I happened to watch the end of the recent men’s basketball game between Carolina and Oregon and the celebration that followed. Coach Roy Williams entered the locker room as if walking on air, his face radiant with a wide grin. His team quickly surrounded him and the young men jumped and cheered. Then in a jubilant mood coach Williams led his team in counting down the number of teams left in the tournament. See the clip here. They hadn’t even won the final game yet, but they could see, feel, and taste the win.
That is hope.
According to Webster’s dictionary, hope is a desire that is based on an expectation of a positive outcome. The coach was pumping his team with hope. He and his team were hoping they would win the final tournament. This type of hope is temporary because the fulfillment is dependent on man’s efforts.
Watching coach Williams and his team got me thinking about another kind of hope. A hope that is eternal. A hope that leads to inner joy, contentment, and peace. It is a steadfast hope that is based on the promises of God and does not put to us shame. This hope sustains when the bottom falls out…when a loved one is hospitalized, when natural disaster strikes and you lose your house to fire, when your finances go south, when you have prodigals or when you are unemployed. This hope is rock solid. It keeps us standing, holds us and will not let go. This hope makes the crooked places straight.
This hope is Jesus, God’s only son. He shed His precious blood on the cross so that all who believe in Him will have life abundantly. Through Jesus, we have a secure hope and access to the Father. Our weaknesses, shortcomings, and mistakes are no barrier. He is our hope and advocate who cheers us on daily. Jesus is our head coach.
We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:18-20
When I think about Jesus, I am overwhelmed by His love. He gives me hope daily through His word and personal experiences. One day, during a difficult season in my life, I was feeling discouraged so I went to the bookstore. While browsing, I saw a lady coming down the aisle. As she approached me, she said, I’ve got to give my sister a hug. I looked around, but there were only two of us in the aisle. She gave me a hug and said God bless you. Then suddenly, she was gone. I stood there for a few seconds and then tried to follow her but she was gone. Though I didn’t get a chance to thank her, I received the hope of Jesus through her.
On numerous occasions, I hear Jesus whisper in my heart, a verse, a song or instructions on how to handle a difficult situation. When I feel discouraged, I am amazed by how He sends what I need at the right time. He is ever present. I cannot imagine my life without Him. My life challenges provide opportunities to grow in my relationship with Jesus and to tell others about Him and what he has done in my life.
Jesus Christ is the reason for my hope. He is my Lord, Savior, King and Rock.
We are victorious because He already won the victory for us. Can you see, feel, and taste the victory?
It is finished.
Paid in full.
Eternal hope is found in Jesus!
Friend, you too can have this hope by inviting Jesus into your life as Lord and Savior.
Prayer: Father, thank you for making your hope freely available to those who believe. Thank you for hope that never puts us to shame. Thank you for removing stumbling blocks and barriers to receiving your hope. Thank you for Jesus! Amen.