In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Finish this sentence for me, “My hope is in…” If you grew up in a Christian home, you were likely taught that your hope rests in God, period. Now the all-important question, how might you determine where your hope is really at? How do you know that someone’s hope does rest in God alone? Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 that you can learn a lot from someone based on the fruit of their lives. So you are thinking to yourself, my hope is in God, but the fruit of your actions might speak something different if:
Every election cycle you are filled with fear, and anger. You are convinced if the wrong candidate is elected, the end of the world, or at least doom for our town, state or nation is a matter of when not if.
Your reaction to those who do not share all of your beliefs is anxiety and defensiveness. You rush to build walls of protocol, uniformity and single-mindedness amongst those closest to you. You demonize them, and dehumanize them as lesser humans or Christians than you. These other ideas are threatening and dangerous, and we must protect our way of life.
The imperfections and diversity of people and opinions within our churches cause you to lose sleep. You make yourself sick thinking of how programs are not the way they should be, how bad the paint colors are, how the budget is different, how the culture of this world is impact how we do ministry and how you disagree with decisions that leaders are making. You convince yourself and others that if things don’t change bad things will happen.
In scripture Jesus arrival is setup with the imagery of light and dark. Jesus is a light that the darkness of this world cannot overcome. It is this stark reminder that our hope rests in the power of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, not our money, government, churches, or leaders. Each of those are filled with imperfect, sinful people who may try to follow God faithfully, but still fall short, and miss the mark.
God’s design from the beginning is that our Hope, our trust, our reason to live and be resides in him alone. It sound like a nice concept, our hope rest in God alone. Push comes to shove, it can be hard to live in a way that reflects it. In those moments of fear, anxiety and anger, step back, and lean into the truth of God’s Word. Lean into a God who is not worried about this world (even if it grieves him at times), who knows what is going to happen long before we ever make decisions, whose Spirit empowers and guides our churches, and whose son died for you, for your neighbor, for your co-workers. There is work for God’s Kingdom to be done in this world, and the Holy Spirit is already on the move. What barriers exist for you when placing your hope in God alone?