One thing we have in common is that we all have hopes for the future. Holidays, a relationship, a family, a new possession, success in our pursuits, better health—as people we can’t help but hope. In fact, even on the most ordinary of days, we’ve hoped for more things and in more ways than we probably realise (I hope the trains run on time tomorrow. Not all hopes are rational).
Proverbs 13:12 offers this reflection on hope: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” When what we hope for comes true it really can make life feel wonderful. When it doesn’t, it can put a dampener on everything. Life will see some hopes obtained and others withheld and that’s one thing that won’t change for a while yet.
Philosophies and religions have made similar assessments that death is the ultimate hope stealer. When life ends, so does hoping in anything and hope itself is quenched by the reality that our lives will not go on forever. This is part of why the resurrection of Jesus is so strongly emphasised in the New Testament. It really was the foundation of the first Christians’ hope. They understood that unless the problem of death was somehow solved, all hope in all kinds of things was utterly pointless.
Because of Jesus’ resurrection, hope becomes sensible. If death can be overcome, then it’s possible that good things we long for may not only happen, but last. The death and resurrection of Jesus gives Christians a valid reason to hope in every way. Death is no longer the ultimate hope stealer. In fact, in Jesus, life ceases to be transient. Death becomes transient, a mere moment, while life with Christ carries on into the future.
Make life after death with Jesus your most cherished hope. Hope for it more than anything else. Most of the particulars of our current life will not last. But life in the most satisfying of senses can and will last forever if you go through Jesus. You will not be disappointed.