Much of our life is built around hope. Hope stimulates change for the better.
When you cuddled your new baby for the first time, what did you hope for him or her? When you look at your children what do you hope for them?
I remember the hopes … they started early.
- First, I hoped my daughter would be healthy and happy.
- As she developed into a very chatty toddler I hoped that when she started school she wouldn’t talk non-stop all day like she did at home – and be labelled a trouble-maker.
- I hoped that she would be safe throughout her life from evil and accidents.
- I hoped that she would make friends at school.
- I hoped that, at 15, she and I would still be friends.
- I hoped she would be sensible when choosing boys to go out with.
- I hoped that as an adult, we would enjoy doing things together.
There were fears as well – fears that were the opposite of these hopes. Fear that she would be unwell or suffer injury, be misunderstood at school, lonely, that our relationship might be fractured, or that she might make unwise relationship choices.
There seems to be a reverse connection between hope and fear. Hope helps us to overcome fear; fear inspires us to hope.
The hopes we have for our children – we don’t just leave them hanging in a thought bubble. We actually do things to try to achieve them. We want our kids to enjoy reading – so we read to them and make it fun. We want our children to be well educated – so we send them to school and encourage them to learn. We want our children to have good jobs – so we plant aspirations and model a good work ethic. We want them to experience the gift of music – so we sing with them and provide music tuition.
But even though we work hard to achieve the outcome we hope for – it can remain unrealised for many months or years. That’s why it’s called HOPE.
One of the things I love about Easter is the message of hope that it offers in the face of fear. The great fear of humankind is the inevitability of death. The resurrection of Jesus that we celebrate on Easter Sunday demonstrated a number of things:
- that death does not need to be permanent
- that life after death is possible
- that death has been disempowered
- that, for those who believe, hope replaces fear
The hopes you have for your children are for their good. You want them to be happy, fulfilled people. You know that your hopes are achieved when you see in their lives the outcomes you hoped for … when you see them with their nose in a book; you see them happily married; when you see them being responsible citizens.
God is no different. He absolutely hopes good for his children. He wants a life for us that is without fear, suffering and death. By his own death and resurrection Jesus did what was necessary to achieve this outcome. It is yet to be realised in all its completeness. This is the hope of Easter.