Michigan City 2011 - Abandon all hope

Image by kevin dooley via Flickr

“Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3 HCSB)

All hope abandon ye who enter here (From Dante’s Divine Comedy)

What the World Needs Now Is Love, according to a popular song from 1965, with lyrics by Hal David and music composed by Burt Bacharach. It was first recorded, and made popular by Jackie DeShannon. The song was later recorded by and made famous by Dionne Warwick. (Wikipedia)

Here we are, 45 years later, and as Y’shuaJesus warned, the love of the world continues to wax cold. It lacks hope, which is certainly what the world needs now. The closer we get to the gates of Hell, the more fearful the world becomes, realizing what Dante, in his Divine Comedy, describes as entering Hell: “All hope abandon ye who enter here.”

Playing to the needs of a world shedding its hope is a man from seeming obscurity, who became the president of the United States. Leading up to the presidential elections, a poster was produced that came to symbolize one party’s promise to America, and the entire world. The description of it from Wikipedia reads: “The Barack Obama hope poster is an image of Barack Obama designed by artist Shepard Fairey, which was widely described as iconic and became synonymous with the 2008 Obama presidential campaign. It consists of a stylized stencil portrait of Obama in solid red, white (actually beige) and (pastel and dark) blue, with the word “progress”, “hope”, or “change” below (and other things in some versions).”

Hope is defined as “Confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well founded expectation of good; as a hope founded on God’s gracious promises; a scriptural sense.” In sharp contrast to hope, is wish or desire. We often say, “I hope it is nice tomorrow.” We assume the person we say this to defines nice in a similar manner as we do. But is this hope? Don’t we wish it were going to be nice? We don’t know what the weather will be like, do we? Even if we check with meteorologists, there is only a prediction about tomorrow’s weather. How many times has it rained when it was “suppose to be” nice?
Can a man or woman be hope itself? Or can a man or woman only help us achieve our wishes, or desires?

Perhaps it might be argued that a man or woman might be “That which gives hope; he or that which furnishes ground of expectation, or promises desired good,” as is one definitions of hope. Is this true hope? Is it not rather an opinion or belief not amounting to certainty? For it to be hope, it must be grounded on substantial evidence. Hope must have some expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. It must be based upon experience, whether our own or proven within the person in who we trust our hope. It involves confidence in, and trust in, someone or something.

So, for the scriptural point of view (is there any appropriate other viewpoint for a person who is said to be a Believer?), who is our hope? In whom do we hope? In whom do we trust? “. . .but set apart the Messiah as Lord in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15 HCSB)

Hope dwells within us, as Believers. The Spirit of the One and only G-d dwells within us. We have this hope, for we BELIEVE the Gospel. Y’shuaJesus died and rose from death to ascend into Heaven. Y’shuaJesus, summed up so well in the first letter of John, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have observed, and have touched with our hands, concerning the Word of life– that life was revealed, and we have seen it and we testify and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us– what we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may have fellowship along with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:1-3 HCSB)

What the world needs now is hope. And we are fallen humans who despair so easily. We need leaders, strong leaders, who will inspire hope within us, yes. Ought we look, though, to our leaders to be our hope, to send us hope? This question was answered long ago: “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” (Psalms 121:1-8 ESV)

Our hope is in Y’shuaJesus. And upon Him shall we wait. “We wait for the LORD; He is our help and shield. For our hearts rejoice in Him, because we trust in His holy name. May Your faithful love rest on us, LORD, for we put our hope in You.” (Psalms 33:20-22 HCSB)

Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .