By Chris Hall
What’s so special about hope? We throw the word around a lot this time of year. Paul seems to believe it gives us the strength we need to endure the pain and struggles of this life. It even helps us “glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” But how?
Some day (hopefully a long time from now) you will breathe your last breath. Your pulse will flat line and you will assume room temperature. As a Christian, your story won’t be different. Your earthly body will die.
But one of the precious and powerful promises from Scripture is eternal life (1 John 2:25). Yes, though you stop breathing, in Christ you will live on forever in the presence of the King. No more tears or pain. No cancer or stress. No injustice or sin. Streets of gold. All of it!
Consider how freeing that is. Because your forever has been purchased by the blood of the Lamb, you can live today in the fullness of his love without fear of death. And since he works all things for our ultimate good, he gives our today—even our suffering—deep, eternal meaning.
Now when he says, “Be not afraid,” you can actually obey because what is the worst that could happen? You stop breathing and get to be with the lover of your soul forever? Not bad for a worst-case scenario.
With that hope, you are free to live life loved, free from fear, and free to bask in his love. You are free to live a life so radically different from this hurting world that it will cause people to ask you questions that have gospel answers. Because of hope, your life will “glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Prayer: God, from Old Testament to New, your Word proclaims that we have hope in Jesus. Thank you for his birth, life, death, resurrection, and work to prepare a place for us, so that we can be free of the fear of death!
Chris Hall is pastor of Elevation Church in Wyoming, Michigan. The 2016 Advent devotions were written by RCA church planters and parent churches.