“The power of hope defines the psychological victim and psychological survivor. If I could find a way to package and dispense hope, I would have a pill more powerful than any antidepressant on the market. Hope is often the only thing between man and the abyss. As long as a patient, individual or victim has hope, they can recover from anything and everything.” Those words were written by Dr. Dale Archer, M. D., in an online blog @ psychologytoday.com (“The Power of Hope,” posted July 31 2013). The doctor also said, “However, if they lose hope, unless you can help them get it back, all is lost.”
I don’t know if Dr. Archer is a Christian or even a believer. What I do know is that our world needs hope. Unless you just arrived from another planet, you don’t need me to tell you why. Another thing I know for sure is that the New Testament and the church described on its pages are unequaled when it comes to hope and the power that comes packaged with it. Hope is standard equipment when you buy into the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ’s apostles heralded the message that Jesus Christ is “our hope” (1 Timothy 1:1). They believed people outside of Christ had “no hope and [were] without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). The apostle Paul referred to God as “the God of hope” who can “fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). We are saved in a hope that cannot yet be seen and we “eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (8:4-25). The early church preached Jesus as the “one hope” we have for overcoming sin and death (Ephesians 4:4). The apostle Peter describes the Christian hope as “a living hope” (1 Peter 1:3), grounded not on wishful thinking or a hunch or luck, but in the rock-solid reality that Jesus Christ died on a cross, went into a tomb, but three days later got up and walked out of it alive, never to die again (Revelation 1:18)! The writer of Hebrews 6:18b-19 urged Christians to “lay hold of the hope set before us”, and that, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence [of God, that is] behind the veil.” That hope anchors our souls in Heaven even as our ship is battered and tossed by earthly winds and storms that beat into our souls here on earth. Edward Mote expressed it this way in his beautiful song “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” (1834: “In every high and storm gale, My anchor holds within the veil … When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.” For that reason, it is wise to “put on … as a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8b).
This verse suggests hope in Jesus Christ is like a “helmet” to cover the head, protecting against the mind’s proneness to wander and providing spiritual protection against the vagaries, doubts, and fears we often encounter as human beings, and even as God’s children. Terri Guillemets said, “I still believe in some faraway place where it’s all okay.” It’s not all okay here on Planet Earth. The Bible’s message is that in this devil-dominated, sin-saturated world, it never will be okay. But there is a place where all is okay. A place where “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying … no more pain …” (Revelation 21:4). A place “where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). Is there any other hope of being forgiven of sins, defeating death, and being with God forever? The world denies it, but the Word of God says Christ is our only hope. That being the case, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He is faithful who promised” (Hebrews 10:23)