One of my personal reasons for believing in God is hope.
Where did we get hope? My wife’s cat doesn’t hope. Why would evolution develop hope – an oxymoron – in narrowly defined naturalism where existence could be an illusion and, at best, is nothing more than bits of matter and energy flying around together for what we call “self-awareness?”
Stop it! Too deep and intense. Tomorrow is Easter with colored eggs and, hopefully, socially-distanced church attendance.
Everyone hopes. Every religion gives hope. Literature, as soon as it progresses from Neolithic caveman paintings to words on paper, is about hope. Hope defeated and regained (we call it drama).
Into a world desiring hope, that can’t be explained by agnostics, but discussed in every religion, we have Christian hope. Nothing compares – nothing in Shakespeare, any other world religion, folklore, or a Presidential press conference – to the hope found in Christ.
Hope #1. It is based upon the resurrection of Jesus. A dead body becomes alive. Jesus crucified, then walks around. Defeated apostles change the world. No other world religion begins with a dead leader. Our hope is that we will be resurrected like Him.
We will be able to see, talk with, and hug our family and friends again.
Hope #2. It is big-picture hope that gives understanding to daily trials. Timothy Keller recently wrote in a book entitled Hope in Time of Fear:
The resurrection means not merely that Christians have a hope for the future but that they have hope that comes from the future.
The resurrection proves the existence of an eternal God who reaches into our lives pulling us into His world of perfect love, justice, and healing through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Whatever happens in this life – in 2020 or 2021 or 2022 – stands in contrast to eternity when God wipes the tears from our eyes.
Pain today but hope for tomorrow.
Hope #3. You can change today. Your sins can be forgiven, your addictions vanquished, your desires fulfilled. Yes, still problems, sometimes extreme difficulties, but you can be a person who lives in praise as hope does not disappoint.
You can handle it. God’s peace is beyond comprehension. Because of the resurrection, today has hope. You can be a different person.
We all, with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. 2 Corinthians 3:8
The “three hopes” of the Christian faith. Found nowhere else except in Christ, do depend upon a historical resurrection.
N.T. Wright concludes when writing about whether the resurrection is history or the imagination of the early church promoting Christianity:
The early Christians did not invent the empty tomb or the sightings of the risen Jesus. Nobody was expecting this kind of thing; no kind of conversion experience would have invented it, no matter how guilty (or how forgiven) and they felt, no matter how many hours they poured over the scriptures.
To suggest otherwise is to stop doing history and enter a fantasy world of our own.
He is risen. He is risen indeed!