The most tragic words I hear from time to time are “I had hoped”. Those words portray someone who has lost their dreams. But they are not a new thought. The men on the road to Emmaus talking with our Lord said in Luke 24:21, “We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel”. To rob people of their hope takes away their reason for going on. If these men had not heard the good news of the resurrection, their next step would have been to give up and not to dream again. The author of the book of Hebrews tells us that we cannot live without hope.
This truth is obvious in many ways in our daily life. Listen to a child at Christmas time. They begin counting the days till Christmas the day after Christmas. Many of us are willing to do work that is unpleasant if we see some reward at the end. Years spent working for a cause is worthwhile if there is triumph at the end. A line in a poem by Tennyson quotes a nurse as she looks at the physical trauma around her. “How could I serve in the wards if the hope of the world were a lie?”
Judging from popular literature and songs, hope seems to be in short supply. We live on a steady diet of news that casts doubt on our ability to maintain life on this planet. Movies and plays often reflect the hopelessness many experience. It was not so different in ancient times. Paul reminded the Ephesians that before they became Christians they were ‘without hope and without God’. The church was the one place they could find hope and optimism to motivate them to keep on going.
Our pilgrimage on earth is toward a goal. We may get weary and tired but we know that our hope in the promises of God and in the resurrection of Jesus is enough motivation to press on to the goal. We need to give up false hopes and reaffirm the one hope that will nourish our lives and motivate us to keep the faith.