So much of life is spent waiting. Some of that waiting can be exciting: the anticipation of a holiday, the night before Christmas. Most of our waiting is exhausting: waiting in a socially distanced line in the grocery store, waiting for the results from the doctor, waiting on a light to change, waiting for the calendar to flip. 2020 held such promise when the year began, but as it has dragged along we fear it will never end.
We are tempted to place our hope in whatever comes next. But in times of waiting, in times of sorrow, our hope does not come merely from an anticipated change in circumstances. We can have hope in the midst of sorrows, in our long days of waiting. A present hope, a living hope.
The Apostle Peter describes the hope of Christians:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:3-7)
For the Christian, our hope rests in a secure and certain future, but it is a hope that invades our present circumstances. We have more than a hope for the future. We have hope in the present because of the resurrection of Jesus.
For the prospective parent caught in the delays of travel restrictions, we have a living hope. For the resource parent trapped in the uncertainty of court appointments, we have a living hope. For the child whose future feels insecure, we have a living hope.
The hope of the Christian is rooted in the past action of God. Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead. The hope of the Christian is guaranteed by the future promise of God. We have an inheritance in heaven in the presence of God. The hope of the Christian, secured by the actions of God, is a living hope for us in the present. As the year ends with the celebration of Christmas and we anticipate the flip of the calendar, we have a living hope. Not merely because we anticipate better news in 2021, but because we have the promises of God which flood our present moments with hope.