Well, the New Year has begun. Happy New Year! I hope this will be a year of beautiful flourishing for you.
We all have high hopes for our lives in 2018. But before we run out to chase those hopes, with Christmas behind us, let’s pause for a moment or two to reflect on what it is we are hoping for.
Here’s a question: What is the true hope you are longing for in your life?
And how can you experience “the thrill of hope” amidst the struggles that you may encounter?
As you ponder that, let’s zoom way out and see that people all over the world are hoping—and struggling. And going back in time, we see this is nothing new. People have been struggling to find true hope for millennia.
Two thousand years ago, the people of God—the Jews—were struggling under Roman oppression and searching for hope.
During that time, among the Jews, there was a group called the Pharisees, who put burdensome demands on people and put all their hope in their own ability to be righteous.
Then there was another group called the Sadducees, who made political concessions with the Romans and placed their hopes in what government could accomplish.
Then there were the Zealots, who were convinced the only answer to their troubles was the violent overthrow of their oppressors.
One more group was called the Essenes. The Essenes basically withdrew from everybody and said the day of judgment is coming—let’s disconnect, let God sort everything out, and just make sure we are ready for that day.
And into the midst of all this struggling and hoping, Jesus was born. And Jesus’ solution for the brokenness of the world is himself.
It’s kind of like the author, the script writer, or the director coming out from behind the camera, and stepping into the picture to take over the role where the actors are failing in order to make it right.
That’s what we long for. Not a solution we can come up with on our own for the brokenness around us and in our own lives, but the in-breaking of a good and just God. The coming of the one who is himself our peace and our hope. God has come into our lives with his near and available kingdom of hope in the person of Jesus.
In 2018 the world needs the kingdom of God to break in. And so do you. And so do I.
He is the true hope we all long for.
P.S. To go deeper, read over and reflect on the beautiful words of Isaiah 9:2-7.