Where is the hope?

There is no doubt that Canadians have faced a great deal of pressure and stress throughout the past two years while working their way through these troubling times. As a pastor, I have honestly lost count of the number of times I have heard people share that they have lost all hope. Questions like “why wake up in the morning if everything is shut down?” “Why work hard if I’m going to lose my job?” “Why should I care to better myself if I’m going to get some level of variant and perish in a hospital?”

So much despair, people from all walks of life giving up. So, I want to try to tackle such concerns. To do so, I want to look just for a moment at a very dark time in history, the Battle of Britain. Before July 10th, 1940, England was already engaged in the Second World War battles on European soil. Much of the nation understood what it meant to sacrifice, be rationed, and have family and friends sign up and go across the channel. So, times were bleak, now add the blockades and bombardments from the German Air Force known as the Luftwaffe. The war over the  English Channel for air supremacy so that Hitler’s armies may invade England proves times were stressful. The man tasked to lead England was Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of England. This man understood that there was significant stress, fear, varying levels of anxiety, and people were living a way of life that they were not used to. He could either respond as a true leader or fail in his response. History has spoken.

After losing Dunkirk and realizing that the war was about to hit the very soil of the of England, Winston Churchill said this,

I would say to the house as I said to those who have joined this government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat we have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind we have before us many long months of toil and struggle you asked what our policy is I will say it is to wage war with all our might with all the strength that God can give us to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime

Now you may be asking, “how does this message give hope?” It gives hope because people realized that they were safe. They felt safe when they looked to the resolve of their leader and could stand firm. Even during the conflict, there is hope in unity and resolve. Another thing Churchill said during those dark days was,

we shall not flag or fail we shall go on to the end we shall fight in France we shall fight on the seas and oceans we shall fight with growing confidence in growing strength in the air we shall defend our island whatever the cost may be we shall fight on the beaches we shall fight on the landing grounds we shall fight in the fields and the streets, we shall fight in the hills we shall never surrender

If you can picture yourself sitting in the house in comments on June 4th, 1940, listening to this message or hearing it on the radio, you would have been inspired to move forward, to stand firm and do whatever it takes to get through the dark circumstances. Indeed, it was a time like no other. However, today we do not hear this. We do not hear our world leaders calling for unity, fortitude, and strength. If they are saying it – it is mixed in fearmongering, blaming and threats.  It is so sad; when we need unity (In Canada), we hear leaders blaming those who may not receive a vaccination for a world health crisis even though science has shown from multiple peer-reviewed resources that those who have been vaccinated or those not vaccinated are both contractors and transmitters of the virus. We do not hear leaders stand up and give inspirational speeches that everything will be OK, continue to fight, and continue to hold our ground that things will work out.  No, what we hear are individuals flip-flopping on convictions and fortitude.

Now here’s the thing. During the war, leadership was different from today. Leaders took responsibility, and they did not make excuses for their performance. Leaders understood what it meant to find courage. But we don’t see this today. Being more direct in Ontario and Canada, we hear a lot of premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blame Canadians for the current pandemic crisis that we are in. This does not produce hope – but anger and fear. Is this authentic leadership that inspires others? I don’t think so. George Washington once said, “99% of failures come from people who make excuses”. I think this is very important because blaming others and finding excuses distracts from the cause and fails in providing hope. Another good quote that we should ponder upon was from Harry S Truman when he said, “it amazes me what can be accomplished if you do not care who gets the credit” Perhaps this is something our elected leaders should think about when they are called to give hope and not act as if they are candidating for the next election.

We now come back to the main question, where is the hope? Answer – it is not in humanity and will never be in a political party. True hope does not come from being a patriot or being ready to enlist in a military conflict. By examining the failure of our elected officials, we can see that no politician, no matter how hard one tries – can provide true hope. They can only provide either a temporary hope or a false hope.  These failures should be the cause for us to look for answers, to look for hope; which can only be found in Christ. The reality is, wars have long been fought, heroes have long since died, and names are long forgotten. As the world looks for hope, they cannot find true hope in their country, leaders, or decisions that keep coming at them. This is why it must be placed in Christ.

The only comfort we have is, hope is found in God alone through Jesus Christ (Col 1:27). The son of God who came to this earth and walked among us and through His perfect life and obedience has provided payment for humanity’s salvation (Eph 2:8-9. Titus 3:5, John 3:16-18, Acts 2:38)

We read in Romans chapter 5:1-5 (LSB)

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also boast in our afflictions, knowing that affliction brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not put to shame, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us

It is vital to remember that salvation means we do not simply have the peace of God, but we have peace with God and not only do we have peace with God, but we also have access into his very presence, and that is where hope is found.

Our hope is not temporal; our hope is based upon our justification in that we as sinners can be declared righteous in Christ (Rom 3:28, Gal 2:16), who is the true blessing of the hope and the glory of God. So, there is no hope for all those outside of salvation, those who are lost in their sin. They want hope, are inspired by hope and look to worldly leaders for hope, but all those things constantly fail – even the Churchill’s.  But for those who are in Christ, they have great hope (Titus 2:11-13) because their life is not based upon the temporal (the here and now), but they know one day they will see the Lord face to face in all his excellent glory (1 Cor 13:12, Rev 22:3-5). A believer’s hope is not when they die; they will not be left in the ground or floating around in a cloud playing the harp. No, there will be a great and glorious resurrection (Col 3:1, Rom 8:11 2 Tim 2:11, Phil 3:11), and their glorified selves will be able to experience Christ in complete fellowship and enjoy our Saviour under the conditions in which we were created.

You see, Winston Churchill gave hope to England in a temporary effort of wartime measures. They were able to look at a man, sinful as he was, as a temporary source of hope, and that was enough to cause England to remain resilient during the Second World War. But the Christian has a better hope far more extraordinary than some fallible man or some secular country. Their hope is in Jesus Christ; their hope is in their final salvation. Their hope is so strong that they walk in reality and knowledge of that glorious day and can rejoice that God will never put them to shame and this should make the believer resilient during days of trouble, darkness and even despair.

The hope of a Christian allows them not to walk around in fear, not to be full of anxiety, and put their confidence in things that will fail because they know just as the first advent happened, the second advent will come (Rev 22:12), and there will be a day, a great final day when Jesus Christ will come and make all things new (Rev 21:5). At that time we will no longer suffer, we will no longer have tears or shame. There will be no more pain there will be no more tribulation – instead, there will be pure, uncontaminated worship with our God (Rev 21:4).

Further, the Christian has this great hope through the passage I cited because they understand that they will not be put to shame (Ps 25:1, Is 54:4). As the scripture said, God, himself poured his love into our hearts. Think upon that for a moment. My favourite verse in all of scripture is first John 4:10 (LSB)

In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to propitiate for our sins.

This means it was all based upon His love for us through the work of the Holy Spirit; he showed us that he loved us, he regenerated us and gave us Himself. He gave us new life, and now we can love him in return, and through this beautiful work of salvation, He preserves us in faith this is true hope (1 Thes 5:8, Rom 15:3)

So here is my plea to you, my fellow countrymen, regardless of where you are living in Canada or the province of Ontario. If you are tired, lonely, scared, and you do not have any source of hope and are completely exhausted by the government’s flip-flopping policies and mandates, if you are not hearing them inspire you and encourage you, do not lose heart. This is the clear and simple evidence that they cannot ever fulfill the task of giving true hope- only God can do such things; only God can give you true hope. You need this hope; you need to trust God pours his love out. John 3:16-18 (LSB)

16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

By accepting that Christ saves you by faith, you can be confident that God will continue to outpour his love and presence in your life, giving you hope beyond all comprehension. So today is the day to stop trusting in Chariots and horses (Ps 20:7), stop trusting in political figures, employment and self, and put your trust in our only source of hope, Jesus Christ.

We can look back to June 6, 1944, and now see that the Normandy invasion was the turning tide of World War Two and how Hitler’s defeat was put into motion. Just as much when Jesus Christ came and went to the cross at Calvary and died for the sins of many and rose three days later we know Satan was defeated and hope secured. Since Satan was defeated, he no longer had a hold on God’s people. Hence, I encourage you to reach out to me to learn more about the gospel. I encourage you to come out to our church service on Sunday mornings at 10:30 am and be fed messages of hope, life and promise so that you no longer are bombarded by all the fear, stress and uncertainty. Remember what the word of God says 1 Peter 5:7 (LSB) 7 casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

In His Grace,

Pastor Steve

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