As a teenager in the eighties, one of my favorite songs was (and, in fact, still is) Nick Lowe’s “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?” (made famous by Elvis Costello and The Attractions). Lamenting all the darkness and hatred in “this wicked world,” Lowe finds himself asking, “Is all hope lost?”
For believers in Christ, the answer is simple: no. Hope is most definitely not lost. Indeed, to quote another singer (Sara Groves), “Hope stands defiant.” The question of whether one can truly hold on to hope or whether their grip tightly to a false sense of security lies in the source of one’s hope. 18th century English poet Alexander Pope wrote, quite astutely:
Hope springs eternal in the human breast;Man never Is, but always To be blest:The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
This couplet comes from Pope’s An Essay on Man, written in the 1730’s to “vindicate the ways of God to Man.” Better still is to view the words of the psalmist:
1 In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame! 2 In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me! 3 Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. 4 Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man. 5 For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. 6 Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you. – Psalms 71:1-6 (ESV)
The simple truth is that our source of hope – our only hope at all – is found in the Lord, in God through Jesus Christ. Our hope is found in faith. Indeed, the two are intimately interrelated. Read these two passages and see if you can find any similarities:
24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. – Romans 8:24-26 (ESV)
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. – Hebrews 11:1-3 (ESV)
2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. – Romans 5:2-6 (ESV)
So… to answer Mr. Lowe’s other questions, “Where are the strong? Who are the trusting?” Well… it is the believers in Jesus Christ, those who live by faith in God, knowing He is our hope. Not because of our circumstances but despite of them. Not because of what we see but because of what God says. Not because we are blind fools ignoring the world around us, but because we understand God is “The Way, The Truth and The Life.” And we are His children, adopted into His family. And our hope stretches far beyond the bounds of this sinful, imperfect world.
And hallelujah for that!