Lenten Choices: Despair or Hope?

One of the greatest gifts we can offer one another is hope. Hope is the seed planted in the heart that springs forth from the soul and blossoms into radiant beauty in the voice, attitude, and lifestyle of the believer. Hope springs eternal when it comes from the depth of our being in Christ.

Hope is often linked to joy and strength, as well as a future which includes eternity. Faith, hope and love are the triangle of the heart, with hope intertwined and integral to the whole experience for the believer. Having our hope in God, rooted in Christ, is anticipatory of the eternal life we are offered to share in forever. Yes, hope is central to the Christian message and is what emanates from the character and more specifically the heart of the Christian.

When the world around us despairs, we are to offer hope. Despair is discouraging and disheartening. Despair is a dead end street, the tip of a cul-de-sac without an address. Despair resides in a troubled, anxious, frustrated heart. When despair hits, it’s accompanied by despondency and ultimately death. However, despair is to be afforded no real estate in the heart of the believer.

When we put our hope in God’s unfailing love, we rejoice and give thanks for the unspeakable riches of the Christian life. As Peter so aptly put it, “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for us.” Hope is for the here and now, but it’s more fully experienced in the life everlasting.

Lent is to be a season filled with hope. As we go through the gospels and experience with Jesus the possibility of despair in his pending arrest, crucifixion and death, we know that’s not the end of the story. We know that what follows is the miraculous rolling away of the stone from in front of his grave, and with the empty tomb comes the risen Christ. His resurrection from the despair of death leads to hope for all eternity.

What will be your attitude this Lenten season? Will you join the world in despairing about your lot in life, or will you stand apart from the world and rejoice in the hope that resides deep within your soul? May you and I be known more for how we press hope and joy into life situations rather than participating in the downcast doom and gloom despair of a world without hope.

Put your hope in God. Be filled to overflowing with hope for today and for eternity. For now, believe with hope in the God who knows your need before you ask, is ahead of you on the trail of life, and is willing to stretch out his hand to offer you a heart attitude of hope no matter what may come your way.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13).