Armed with Ultimate Hope
Hope: a strong and confident expectation of a fruitful future.—Merriam-Webster
It's been said that if you don't lose hope, you can endure anything. I agree. Difficult times are coming, my friends. For many of us, they're already here. The difficulties I'm writing of, though, are not the result of your own personal failings or character flaws. The difficulties I'm writing of are those brought on by those who hate humankind and who want to do nothing but wipe out most of us and then control those who remain. While I may not be a prophet, I'm not ignorant. At least not completely. And that's not to write that if you don't see or feel the same things I do that you're somehow ignorant or deficient. No. In this life, each of us only sees in part. Our individual perspectives are limited.
Life as we know and experience it is coming to an end. Sadly, things will not get better. Sure, there may be brief times of relief, but they're more like the momentary lull a boxer takes between left jabs than a time of true relief. That kind of "relief" will always be followed by more pain, more difficulty. Always.
[Wait a minute! I thought this was going to be about hope.]
It is (or will be). Just stick with me for a minute.
When I talk about hope, I'm not talking about casual, every day hopes (like, I hope it snows tonight, because I don't want to go to work tomorrow) or even precious hopes (like, I hope my brother's cancer goes into remission). I'm talking about ultimate hope. Hope that's a strong and confident expectation of a joyful, fruitful future beyond this life. My hope is not in humankind, government, or a political philosophy. My hope is not in my obtaining great wealth or notoriety someday. Or, even, in finding greater peace of mind. My hope is in a Person: the Lord Jesus Christ, and in what He's promised me. Does life really exist after this life? Will I really see my grandma again? Can God really forgive me for the wrong I've done? These are the questions of ultimate hope. We all have them. For those who say you don't, I wonder if you're not lying to yourself.
All of us suffer greatly in this life. None of us are exempted from it. God promises the strength to endure suffering, but He's never promised exemption from it. Enablement? Yes. Exemption? No. While suffering comes any many forms, all of it relates to a loss of some sort. Some are big loses, like the shattering of a dream or the loss of a spouse, parent, or child. Some are not so big, like, say, the loss of a client or a "hoped for" sunny day out on the lake. I, like many of you, haver suffered greatly in life. Like you, it's a part of my journey, and it's contributed to who I am as a person. The reason I still stand tall (with uplifted head and shoulders), feel happy, and have significant peace of mind is because my ultimate hope is NOT in this life. My hope is not in the restoration of things right now. My hope is in Christ and in His promises to restore all things in the age to come.
This life is not all there is. There's a life in an age after this one that's FAR more important than the one we live in now. Even though our current reality is extremely important, it pales in comparison to the one to come. This life is but an eye-blink compared to the one that follows. Regarding this life to follow, I'll leave you with a passage out of the book of Revelation. It, more than many Scripture passages, speaks directly to our questions of ultimate hope. Do you want ultimate hope? Hope that everything you've ever gone through will work for your good in some way? Hope that everything that's ever gone wrong in your life will somehow be made right some day? Hope that everything you've ever loved will be brought back to you to enjoy again some day? Forever and ever? Without end? If that's what you're after, meditate on this passage. I guarantee, the time you spend will not be wasted.
Then I saw "a new heaven and a new earth," for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. '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." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write these down, for these words are trustworthy and true."—Revelation 21:1-5
IKIGAI Weekly Blog Schedule (per The Training Trinity):
Mondays: Meditative Prayer
Wednesdays: Holistic Discipline
Fridays: Martial Arts Practice