Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace.
2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. – 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 [ESV]
Hope springs eternal: A saying, quoting an Alexander Pope poem. Hope Floats: A movie title. Hope is a dangerous thing: A quote from the movie Shawshank Redemption. Steadfast hope: something we would all wish to have. But for many, hope is all too illusive and fleeting.
On an earthly level I exercise hope as I look forward to special travel opportunities. Whether it’s a visit with friends in Michigan, a future cruise with other friends, possible travel to visit family, or a road trip with Diane, I love planning and anticipating our travels. I look forward to the adventures. I imagine the experiences, accomodations, new discoveries, and fun times. But changes to those plans can all too easily interrupt those plans. Whether it’s COVID, a family emergency, a ministry need, or the impingement of financial realities, travel plans can easily be cancelled.
Steadfast hope must be placed on something more certain. Such is our hope anchored in Jesus death and resurrection. Our salvation is a secure and certain thing to which we may attach great hope. The cords of such hope are strong enough to hold our deepest yearnings. Financial realities never intrude: our salvation has been secured and paid in full by Jesus blood. Even the worst disease will not prevent this hope from being realized: the resurrection on the Great Last Day will mark the end of all disease and suffering of every kind.
Nothing stands in the way of hope centered in Jesus’ promises except that which marks hope’s essence: time. Hope is a future thing. Time doesn’t actually stand in the way of hope, it simply proves hope’s purity. As we navigate through time, we keep our hopes alive by focusing on the promises of God. Whenever we get distracted by the cares of this world and the worries of this life, hope waits patiently for us to take hold of it again. Hope in Jesus is steadfast. It is always there, waiting for us to reclaim.