Looking forward with hope

Published 10:34 pm Thursday, March 28, 2019

By Thurman Hayes

As I write these words, I’ve woken up early on one of my favorite days of the year — Opening Day in Major League Baseball.

As regular readers of this column know, I do love “America’s Pastime” and my New York Yankees. I enjoy football and basketball as well, but they are just things to get me through the winter. Nothing compares to baseball, in my book.

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From the moment the World Series ends in early November, I look forward to this day. Sure, I delight in the off-season intrigue of what trades or signings the Yankees will make, but all the while I’m looking forward to Opening Day.

Looking forward. That’s what hope is all about, right?

The Bible has much to say about hope. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)

Human beings cannot live without hope. The sunshine of spring helps it rise in our hearts. One of my favorite Beatles songs is George Harrison’s lovely “Here Comes The Sun,” from the classic album, Abbey Road. “Little darling, it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter … Smiles returning to their faces … Here comes the sun … And I say, it’s alright …”

Oh yes, it is all right. The warmth of the sun, the flowers bursting out, the birds chirping … it all points to the deeper reality of hope.

But the hope we feel with the rising of the sun merely points to a deeper need in our lives … to understand the rising of the Son. Real hope is found there.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3-4 CSB)

Yes, this life has plenty of trials. Sometimes it feels like Narnia in C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”: “Always winter, but never Christmas.”

But that is where hope comes in. Without God, there is no hope. The absence of God would mean that life is ultimately meaningless. Hope would just be a mental trick to make us feel better. But those who believe in God and the resurrection of Jesus have a real basis for hope.

Jesus died for sinners like us. The tomb is empty. Those who know the Son will also be raised when He returns.

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 CSB).

Jesus died for sinners, taking on Himself the sins of all who will trust in Him. Jesus rose again, and those who are in Him will rise one day, as well. The trials of this life are temporary. The best is yet to come.

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr. is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.