Cursed with Hopelessness
John Maxwell talks of a small town in Maine that stood in the way of a proposed hydroelectric dam. All the residents were told that their town would be submerged by the dam and they would have to pack up all their belongings and relocate.
As construction began on the dam, a curious thing began to happen in the town. All improvements ceased. No one painted their house. Roads and sidewalks were not repaired. Long before the dam was finished, the town looked shabby and abandoned. One resident noted, “Where there is no hope in the future, there is no power in the present.” The town was cursed with hopelessness because it had no future.
Truth About Hopelessness
There are very few things that are more debilitating than hopelessness. A person with a small amount of hope has at least a spark that could ignite a flame. A person without hope not only doesn’t have a spark, but every match they touch is soaking wet.
It’s a sobering thought to consider that there are millions of people right now who, because of a lack of hope in the future, have given up on the present. But the writer of Hebrews is looking to change all of that. Instead of being hopeless, the writer encourages his listeners to “hold tightly” to the very thing they’re not sure they have…HOPE!
Hebrews 10:23 (NLT) 23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
If we’re honest, it won’t take long to realize that we hold tightly to a lot of things in this world, and typically, hope is not one of them. In fact, we can probably name at least two or three things that can trump hope by far. Think about it, hope isn’t going to pay the bills, money does that. Hope isn’t going to feed your kids, food does that. Lastly, hope isn’t going to load the dishwasher, kids, I mean…
Hope In Scripture
It’s interesting to note that hope in the scripture is a little different then the hope we’re accustomed to. Hope for us is a kind of wishy-washy unsure optimism: Like I alluded to earlier, we tend to think…
- I hope he/she likes me
- I hope I get the promotion
- I hope my car doesn’t run out of gas
- I hope I shut the garage door this morning when I went to work… (no seriously)
In scripture, and during this time, hope is not wishy washy, hope is defined as a strong and confident expectation. So when we read in scripture about hope, it would have the connotation of expectancy or belief of certainty. On the opposite side, a loss of hope would have as much confidence in the certainty, in this case, of death.
Here’s the great news about Hope: Whether positive or negative, hope in scripture is never passive. Hope is always dynamic and active. What do you need to hope on Jesus for? Not a hope of wishy-washyness, but a hope of certainty that God shows up on time, every time.
Not only does the writer encourage us to hold unswervingly (NIV) to hope, but he also indicates that God can be trusted to keep his promises. Now this is where the writer of Hebrews begins to drive down his listeners street. The reason I say that is because this is exactly the point the writer’s been making! Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection were all promises kept by God dating all the way back to Genesis.
The first verse of the great Hymn, “My Hope is Built On Nothing Less,” says it all:
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame (my own merit),
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.