A few months ago I was traveling from Budapest, Hungary back to Austria by train. I had the privilege to preach at the Youth-for-Jesus-Conference (FJK) and although the days there with the young people were blessed, I was also very tired afterwards.
As you might know from an earlier blog post of mine, I always pray on my trips for divine appointments; for opportunities to share Jesus Christ with another person who God specifically leads to me. And I’ll have to warn you now, … if you ever pray for mission-opportunities like these, you will get them! God is always waiting for us to say “Lord, please use me.” So be prepared!
Anyways, I prayed for a divine appointment this time too. And you guessed it, it didn’t take more than maybe a few minutes and God had put the right person in front of me.
This time it was a Hungarian lady, maybe in her forties. We got into talking (she knew German) and I explained to her what I was doing in life, and she told me about her current situation. Very soon into the conversation we started talking about religion and faith in God. It turns out she comes from a very religious background, however she didn’t seem to be too much into it and for the most part of the upcoming three hours we talked about classical music. Whenever the conversation would move back into spiritual topics I could feel that she tried to find her way out of it very fast again.
Then, we had about 25 minutes left before we would arrive in Vienna where I knew she would leave the train, I was getting a little bit worried because I still didn’t feel like I had delivered the message to her which she needed to hear on that day. So I decided to pray and try it one more time. We got into talking about the current unstable condition of this world and how immorality and evil is taking control of this planet more and more.
I could feel that this really depressed her and I decided to share one of my favorite things with her.
Hope. What exactly is it?
Now before your google it, here is what Wikipedia will tell you:
“Hope is the state which promotes the belief in a good outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life.”
You might not consciously know this, but every human being living on this planet needs hope. We live with it. We use it. Every day.
We constantly yearn for making our current life situation better. We want better things, better jobs, better lives … the list is endless. We are rarely really satisfied in every aspect of our life. And our efforts shown in order to gain these “better things”, they reveal that we live with the hope, that “better things” are obtainable. At least that is the kind of hope that is being proclaimed by every advertisement.
But hope does not only have to do with things. Hope plays an essential part when it comes to relationships. We hope that our friends will stay our friends, also if we disagree sometimes. We hope that our partner stays faithful to his/her vows. We hope that mum and dad will continue to send us money in order to survive life in college ;-).
Hope has a lot to do with trust, love and faith.
Trust in another person.
Love for life itself.
Faith in honesty.
Deep inside of us, we all need hope in order to survive. The opposite of hope is desperation. Depression. A state of being when life seems meaningless and hopeless.
Just a few weeks ago the unimaginable happened and Pope Benedict XVI said “I quit” and a new pope was elected. Francis I. Millions of Catholic believers all around the world put their hope now into this new Pope. Will he bring peace into this world? Will he change things for the better?
The same is true for political leaders. Whenever a new president or leader is elected, it seems like everyone’s hopes are rekindled, because of all the encouraging words and promises of these leaders during their election campaign.
But one thing, all of them have in common. They are all human beings. And it is a dangerous thing to put ones hopes into such an unstable creature.
Now, I’m not saying we should not trust our leaders and the people around us, but I believe in this world there is only one thing that we can fully trust in and build our hopes on, without having to be afraid of rejection or disappointment. And that is our God.
His promises have never failed and He is the trustworthiest being in the universe.
It’s interesting that all the mentioned factors: hope, love, faith, trust … they all have this spiritual meaning and seem to be divine characteristics. They have nothing to do with anything evolutionary or scientific. We cannot pay for them or physically touch them. And still they are there and every human being longs for them and the security they bring.
How amazing to know, that our wonderful Savior and God Jesus Christ offers us true hope and true love and He is worthy to be trusted.
One of my favorite hymns goes like this:
My hope is built in nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
Christ is the only hope humanity has.
Christ is the only hope you and I have.
So what did I share with the Hungarian lady only a few minutes before we arrived in Vienna? What is my hope for a dying world like the one we live in?
I opened my bible to one of the most beautiful passages. Revelation chapter 21 and I read to her verses 1 through 7. (I didn’t put it here. Go read it!)
In that very moment I could see how the Holy Spirit touched this woman’s heart. Suddenly she became silent. Her eyes got wet, and after I was done reading the word of God to her, all she could say was:
“This is a wonderful hope”.
I assured her, that I believe that what the apostle John describes in those verses will happen. That the world as we know it is coming to an end in the near future and that God will make all things new and beautiful. A world where purity, peace and love reign and where there will be no more tears nor sorrows and where God himself will live amongst His people.
What a hope we have!
Before she left the train I was able to give her the book “The Great Hope” by E.G. White, which she gladly received. May it lead her to the true hope.
My friend, … if you long for hope. If you are hopeless, desperate and you feel like life has no meaning, let me tell you – There is hope! There is hope in the Solid Rock!
Come and see the glory of a hopeful and fulfilled life in Christ!
“Put your hope in God!” – Psalm 42:5