Never Stop Asking Too Much2
I live much of my life disappointed. My friends tell me I have unrealistic expectations. It is true, unfortunately I often find myself saying, “I guess it was too much to hope for…”
I guess seeing this alcoholic reform before ruining his family was too much to hope for.
I used to think all you had to do to plant a church was preach the gospel clearly. But now, having had two families thank me for preaching the gospel “more clearly than they had ever heard before” as part of their “we are never coming back to your church” had disabused me of such optimism.
I actually expect husbands who are caught in adultery to hate their sin, and make any sacrifice necessary to restore their marriages.
My optimism even has the audacity to cover Washington. I actually expect congress to pass a budget every year that brings our country back to living within our means.
I know it would be easier to become a cynic. Hope for the worst and you will never be disappointed. Trust no one and you will never be betrayed. I could join the legions of critics, and would probably be happier for a time.
But the gospel does not allow cynicism.
If the Jesus story ended on the cross, a pessimistic worldview would be acceptable. But it didn’t. Jesus was raised from the dead, and therefore, we must hope. But hope in what?
Our hope is not in death. We do not look forward to dying, leaving this awful world and living in the wonderful world of the clouds above.
Our hope is that the Gospel will renovate, restore and redeem every inch of this world. Jesus taught us to pray for God’s Kingdom to come to this earth, not for wings so we could fly away from it.
The gospel demands an irrepressible hope. Our faith is not that maybe, one day some day, we will have a better world that we won’t ruin. No, Christians believe with certainty that one-day: every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.
Because Jesus lives, we know he is still working. He is working to build his church that will prevail against the gates of hell. He is still working to find his lost sheep and bring them home. He will not stop working until he has redeemed every inch of this world, His world.
The Apostle Paul commends a hope that never waivers: We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; (2 Corinthians 4:8 ESV). Why? Because Jesus is alive.
It has been two weeks since we dressed up and went to Church for Easter. Please don’t put your hope back in the closet with your pink dresses and white shoes. Let the truth of Easter inspire you to work, to pray, to hope.
Jesus truly has been raised from the dead. “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV)