There is a hope
In the normal course of ministry, I’ve had my share of emotional slumps. When I do, I go to this song by Stuart Townend and Mark Edwards called “There is a Hope”. For those of you who are more inquisitive, you can read about the context of the song from this website (https://www.stuarttownend.co.uk/song/there-is-a-hope/). Allow me to reproduce the lyrics here:
There is a hope that burns within my heart
That gives me strength for every passing day
A glimpse of glory now revealed in meagre part
Yet drives all doubt away
I stand in Christ with sins forgiven
And Christ in me, the hope of heaven
My highest calling and my deepest joy
To make His will my home
There is a hope that lifts my weary head
A consolation strong against despair
That when the world has plunged me in its deepest pit
I find the Saviour there!
Through present sufferings, future’s fears,
He whispers, “Courage!” in my ear
For I am safe in everlasting arms
And they will lead me home
There is a hope that stands the test of time
That lifts my eyes beyond the beckoning grave
To see the matchless beauty of a day divine
When I behold His face!
When sufferings cease and sorrows die
When every longing satisfied
Then joy unspeakable will flood my soul
For I am truly home
This song is about hope that is found and founded only on Christ. It acknowledges that this life can often be overwhelming, and there is little evidence of God’s presence, let alone His care for us, that can be seen. Yet even though invisible, it is still real. We may catch glimpses of it here and there, but these glimpses serve to remind us of its reality beyond what is tangible. What little we see is enough to sustain us until the day we come home (i.e. stand before God). In the meantime, the challenge is to make His will our home. In other words, the concern for His will to be fulfilled in and through our lives is such an overriding priority, it overshadows everything else in our lives.
That is not to say that we will not have trouble. Anyone who tells you that Christians should never have trouble has clearly never read the words of Jesus Himself, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). The truth is that Christians (and especially Christians) will never be free of trouble on this side of eternity.
Discouragements and despair will set in. The world will do everything it can to thumb you down. It is a horrible mistake to think that God’s power means He will magically deliver you immediately. He can. But more often than not, He manifests His presence with you in your troubles. As I once told someone in the church, “Whenever you are suffering, what God does is that He suffers with you.” I told the young person to realise that God was right beside him in his suffering. Likewise, when you suffer, He is right beside you, sharing in your suffering.
He doesn’t take away our pain, but he gives us the strength and courage to go through it. What keeps us going is the knowledge that in His sovereignty, all sufferings will pass, and the ultimate destination is home with the Lord in eternity.
So this hope has that power to outlast any tribulation or trial. The end goal is not our happiness (and I have taken pains to remind WAC of this). The end goal is to bring us to the day when we stand before God, justified in Christ. On that day, we will be joyfully triumphant. All pain and suffering will cease forever, and our deepest longings will be satisfied, because the greatest and deepest longing is for Him, and He will be visibly present. Faith will become sight.
What a joyous day indeed!
In His Majesty’s Not-So-Secret Service,