Endless Hope

I’ve heard it said that one of the biggest problems with being an atheist is that you never have anyone to thank. I would add that I doubt atheists have any hope either. This observation is somewhat validated in an essay I recently read by Woody Allen where he said, “I do feel that life is a grim, painful, nightmarish, meaningless experience and that the only way to be happy is to tell yourself some lies and deceive yourself”. I suppose this outlook makes logical sense if you believe there is no God, that we all evolved by chance, there is no purpose, no plan, etc. I can’t imagine a more depressing way to go through life! I mean, if that’s your worldview, then why not just go down to Big 5, buy a gun and a single bullet?

Fortunately, Christianity teaches a very different view – 180 degrees different. As Gilbert Beeken said, “Other men see only a hopeless end, but the Christian sees only an endless hope”.

In the Men’s Group, we just finished our study of Timothy Keller’s book Walking with God through Pain and Suffering. The last chapter was about hope and Keller says that “human beings are hope-shaped creatures”. He also states that “there is nothing more practical for sufferers than to have hope. The erosion of hope is what makes suffering unbearable.” I couldn’t agree more.

Paul, in several of his letters, also talks a fair amount about hope. Here are three verses where Paul talks about hope in Romans:

“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:24-25

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

The ultimate hope is at the end of the Bible in Revelations ... “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Or as Billy Graham said, “I’ve read the last page of the Bible, it’s all going to turn out all right.” Amen!

Brad Gauen

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