This is the next post in our on-going “Gospel-isms” series to demystify some of the most common phrases we use in Christianity. While these sayings are good, sometimes they can feel confusing or easier said than done. Many of us wonder, “What does that really mean though?” We hope that these short blogs can help us all think about these phrases in context, considering how they impact our daily lives. You can find the first post here and the second post here.
One of the first lessons a pilot learns is to trust his instruments over his feelings. There will be times when he loses his sight as he flies through storms or heavy cloud coverage, and in situations with limited visibility, a pilot easily becomes confused about his flight position—is he flying right-side up, upside down, straight, or zigzagged through the sky? The gauges, meters, and compasses are the only trustworthy sources of information as he navigates difficult situations. A pilot’s feelings may mislead, but his plane’s instruments provide him the true information to keep him safe and focused.
Life sometimes feels like a flying in a storm, doesn’t it? We bump up against difficult circumstances, find our faith shaken by loss, lack, or trials; and struggle to reconcile the feelings we experience with the wisdom we know from scripture. We reach out to social media and blogs like air masks to maintain some semblance of control when what we need is the lifegiving air of our hope in Christ. Like the pilot who can’t navigate when his visibility is blurred, we lose our biblical perspective as earthly needs and difficulties distract us from the promises of God to us in Christ.
The Comfort of a Hope Found in Christ Alone
When people talk about hope, it’s usually in uncertain terms.
“I hope my husband can join us on this trip.”
“I hope my kids get into that school.”
“I hope we can pay those bills.”
We talk about hope in a way that reveals we don’t know the outcome.
Since we can’t be sure of what will happen next, our hearts are tempted to look at our circumstances and assess God’s faithfulness to us by the state of our current realities. Do I have enough money? Are my kids healthy and able? Is my marriage enjoyable? Do I feel appreciated and valued? Then yes, God is good!
But what about when there isn’t enough money in the budget? What if your child is ill or has a disability? If your relationship with your husband feels strained? When you feel overlooked and underappreciated and the world keeps knocking you down? Then your feelings may pull you to a place of wondering if God is good and if he loves you.
The result of circumstantial hope is despair. It leaves us with heart-wrenching fear, insatiable greed, deep anxieties, or fruitless attempts to control the people and situations in our lives. If we can’t be sure of an outcome, we feel an urge to self-promote and self-preserve in order to care for ourselves in the face of uncertainty.
But as Christians, we know hope in an unchanging and eternal Christ is a certain thing.
When we say, “I find my hope in Christ,” we’re referring to a belief in the work of Christ on the cross and the future promises of God recorded in scripture. Since we believe in the power of Christ’s resurrection, the ability of God to use all things for our good, and the future glory of the saints, we know—for certain—the eternal outcome for those who believe in Jesus. Our future will be in heaven, worshipping God, and experiencing ultimate joy and satisfaction with our Savior. No matter what comes between now and then, the end of our story has been written and sealed into eternity by the redemptive work of Christ on our behalf.
When we stop to look at the cross, we see that God the Father gave up his most precious Son to save his enemies who delighted in their rebellion. Even on the darkest day in history, hope was alive. If he did not spare his own Son—because of his great love for us—what else will he keep from us? In Christ, we have a fixed point of God’s faithfulness to us that is more magnificent and wonderful than any other display of love. God has given us all that we need through Christ, so will he let us falter when we grow weary in training defiant children or haven’t slept in seven months? When the weight of our feelings are crushing and we can’t see if we’re flying right-side up or upside down? Certainly not!
The truth is, life is full of unjust suffering, painful consequences of sin, and a general brokenness that affects every relationship, conversation, and trip to the grocery store with five kids under five. But we can find a deep comfort in knowing our Savior is who God says he is. Jesus is the gauge by which we judge all of our thoughts and emotions. When we learn to reorient our minds to the work of Christ when our children are picking fights over who gets the red car or when our “quiet times” are interrupted by twelve requests for cheese sticks—oh wait, now it’s carrot sticks—and a glass of water, we’ll find that we’re able to respond from a place of quiet peace and trust. We will see moments of interruptions as opportunities to serve, months of sleepless nights as the process of sanctification, and years of faithful discipling as training for steadfastness.
We’ll find our comfort and hope in the Savior who came to serve us and did it perfectly.
The Freedom of a Hope Found In Christ Alone
If we live like we don’t know the future, we may be tempted to hoard our resources, time, or abilities. We’re self-focused and self-consumed as we attempt to provide for our needs and expectations. But we do know the future, and it’s gloriously freeing.
Knowing that our present and future hope can only be set upon Christ frees us from nursing and protecting our pride and living in fear of man or failure, and removes our anxieties about financial, relational, emotional, or physical provision. Instead it gives us the freedom to love and serve others. We can joyfully and faithfully put our efforts and energies into the good work laid out before us—supporting husbands, rocking babies, caring for homes, serving in churches, finishing work assignments, or whatever it is that God has placed before us. Since we trust that God has secured our future through Christ, we can stay focused on his promises and his commands no matter what we experience in our day-to-day lives.
Our hope in Christ is an eternal thing, but it’s also a present thing. We know the eternal future of those who love God, but we also know that Christ fully empathizes with our weaknesses right now. When we struggle with selfishness over “our time,” we remember that Christ humbled himself to serve those who were his enemies. When we snap in irritation to our kids who are late for school, we remember that Christ’s grace calls us to gentleness and self-control. When we slowly pick up 38 legos, 19 hair clips, and 11 stuffed animals in our children’s rooms, we remember that Christ prepares a welcoming and safe place for us. This hope is a present, living hope, because we have a present, living Savior.
We won’t understand and apply this perfectly. We’ll continue to struggle with our sins and doubt God’s word when confronted with pain and uncertainty, but by the grace of God, we’ll find the truth of the gospel growing deep roots in our hearts as we continue to study scripture. With the power of the Holy Spirit, these roots produce good as we find we have a quiet, steady joy amidst life’s trials.
The next time someone reminds you that your hope is found in Christ, think of it like this: you are the blood-bought child of God with a great High Priest who empathizes fully with you. Since Christ secured your salvation and just standing before God, you’ll be with him experiencing pure joy and satisfaction for eternity. But even now, you’re more cared for and loved than you could ever imagine. Let the trials of life pale in comparison to the promises of God—to work all things for good for those who love him and to be faithful to you, according to his purposes and plans.
Autumn is the Blog Editor for Risen Motherhood. She’s the wife of a sometimes bearded man and mother to a bashful little toddler lady and a son due to arrive in August. Autumn likes early morning walks that end at coffee shops, jovial conversations, and simultaneously reading at least four books.