I was contacted by a family earlier in the week. One of their sons, who was 22, died in his sleep from an apparent overdose. I sat with the family in my office, feeling the depth of their grief at their lose; a life extinguished at such a young age. And the questions are asked. Why? Why did he have to die? Why would God allow this to happen? They search for answers to the cause of their grief. They're looking for something to hold on to when it feels like the floor has dropped from beneath them. They are crying out for something that most of the world screams for when life doesn't make sense. They're looking for hope.
So let's define this thing everyone is looking for, this thing called hope. Hope is the absolute assurance of future good; to look forward with confidence to that which is good and beneficial. To express desire for some good with the expectation of obtaining it. Hope is what we all desire, isn't it? We all want to know and believe that something good can come from our tragic circumstances, that life can break through again from the ashes. After all, what is the alternative? Despair. Deep depression. Hopelessness.
But where can one find such a hope? Where does one go when life has ripped a dream from us or death has taken a loved one from us? Can the world we live in give us this hope we all so desperately yearn for? In short, no. Try as we might to grasp some sort of hope in the things this world has to offer, they all eventually lead us back to where we started, searching once again for a hope that will not disappoint or fade over time. So the question remains, where can you and I find real hope?
Real hope, true and lasting hope, can only be found in and through Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter expressed this fact when he wrote, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:3-4).
There it is. Jesus Christ gives to everyone who receives Him as their Savior and Lord (born again) hope, a living hope. This is a hope that we all need to help us when the tempest storms of life threaten to take us under. It is a hope that the world cannot give, because it cannot be found there. Real and lasting hope can only be found in relationship with Jesus Christ. It is a hope that acts as a fixed anchor in our lives; one that is "undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you."
I will be officiating at this young man's funeral, and undoubtedly I will be looking into the faces of friends and family members who are looking, searching for something to grab hold of in their time of despair. They will be searching for hope. And hope in and through Jesus Christ is what He will offer to anyone in attendance. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful" (Heb.10:23).