This week, at Street Hope, we have been reading Hebrews 11, the ‘Faith Hall of Fame’. We discovered that the great heroes of the faith were able to live the lives they did because they had a sure and certain hope. They were confident that God is faithful, that is that He would do as He said and act according to his holy character. Their faith was not a ‘hope against hope’ but was relational, in that it was reciprocal. They could demonstrate faith because of the relationship they had with the God who was faithful.
Today Spring ‘arrives’, here in the Maritimes. It has been a long Narnia like winter (always winter but never Christmas) with the promise of additional snow this weekend. We have had over 14 feet of snow already. As I look out the window at the white world I hear a whisper “Aslan is on the move”. We are not left without hope, spring is coming, and if it was not Jesus is coming! Or we are going to be with him.
Our hope, Hebrews 11 tells us, is rooted in the knowledge that we are pilgrims here. We sojourn to another land. Temporary things, which seem so real, are mere shadows. The real thing, which seems so ephemeral, is spiritual and eternal. Unless we hold onto this we tend toward hopelessness.
I remember by short stint on the assembly line. As a non-union employee I was assigned to a place on the line picking up transmissions and placing them on the passing engines and then placing and tightening four nuts. I was given this task because the machine which picked up the transmissions to be guided into place was broken! The job had to be done manually but to do so was against negotiated union standards. It was a long tiring 10 hour shift but I knew quitting time was coming and that I could hang on. At the end of the shift we were told that we were to work ‘over time’. My heart sank! We kept on working but I no longer knew when I was going to be done. We probably worked an additional 45 minutes but to me it seemed forever and I was ready to quit several times. My problem wasn’t really physical fatigue, it was hopelessness. What I could handily endure for 10 hours with ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ became unbearable without that light!
Too many of our friends are living in darkness with no light at the end of their tunnel. Too many fellow Christians live as if we had no light or hope. Hebrews 11 calls us to perspective. It calls us to the place of hope, and as people of hope we can then point toward that hope so other may discover “the light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of his people Israel.”
Some Maritimers have begun joked about ‘raising the white flag’ and surrendering to Old Man Winter, saying “I can’t take it anymore!” Weary though we may be we do not surrender to the temporary instead let us wave the white flag in surrender to the Faithful One, from whom our hope comes.