Four years ago the word “hope” was used so effectively it helped to elect a President. People were so desperate for hope they believed in anyone who promised it. The problem is that hope is not found in the realm of politics, or in any human endeavor. If history proves anything it is that hope in the systems of man have led us to despair. It has been proven yet again as four years have come and gone and still the problems remain. So, instead of focusing on hope all one campaign can muster this time around is the ambiguous word “forward.” Forward to what – more of the same? With all the heat and hype of the presidential campaign – with each side claiming solutions to current problems – with political parties stating an almost rabid belief in their divergent ideas and philosophies of what is best for America – its amazing to me that we have people still believing that our country’s best hope lies in their promises. As one writer stated, “Hope confined to worldly possibilities is scarcely hope at all; it is so limited as to warrant the label ‘resignation’ rather than ‘hope.’”
A couple of years ago I helped lead a college mission trip to Honduras. It is a beautiful country full of wonderful people. But, it is also a country that has a wildly fluctuating economy and crushing unemployment. On the last day of the trip I made this observation in my journal, “The despair in this country is beginning to take root. Getting a job or being able to better yourself is seen as a dream rather than a realistic hope. Many of the young people here are cynical and have little confidence in their leaders. The future for them is dark. With despair comes a breakdown in society as is evident in the random violence that is everywhere – no place is safe.
“Is this where America is headed? When I talk to the kids at college they seem to be apathetic about politics. But I think their apathy masks a deeper fear or apprehension about the future and any possible solution offered by politicians of either party. They have little hope that any system or program can make any difference.
“The church needs to be the stewards of hope. With God all things are possible. Faith is not the opiate of the people and hope is not empty – they are the transcendent ingredients that bring power to a civilization and make possible a love that is bigger than self. This is true in Honduras as well as in America.”
What I wrote then is even truer today. As I see it, the responsibility of the church is to let the light of hope spread throughout a dark world. One man commented, “The way we hope is the way we live.” When we look at our world and see the heightened anxiety that is evident across every strata of society we know that the way many live is not beneficial or sustainable. There is no future in it. It is only when our hope is in the finished work of Jesus Christ we can live a life of quiet confidence. Why? Because it is then we can rely on His promises of a blessed life both today and tomorrow. When it comes to promises – when it comes to hope – only His words are true. The world needs to know that. We at Great Lakes Christian College are training the next generation to be the stewards of hope in a world that is so desperately needs it. We are graduating students who have a quiet confidence born of the conviction that what Jesus said is true. The future is always bright as long as Jesus is in it.