One of my favorite words is hope. The dictionary defines it this way: “grounds for believing something good may happen.” I remember as a child watching Oral Roberts on television. He would end each program by saying, “Something good is going to happen to you today!"
My wife Alison and I liked the word so much we named our firstborn, our daughter, Wriley Hope.
Before every season, sports fans get excited, thinking this may be the year their team wins big. We say “Hope springs eternal,” an expression possibly first coined by 18th-century British poet Alexander Pope.
I enjoy golfing, but if I have a bad hole, I’ve learned not to let it bother me more than a couple of minutes. Why? Because as soon I put my club back in the bag, it’s about 60 seconds before my cart arrives at the next tee box – the next opportunity for something good to happen. There is renewed hope that I may make a par.
To go a little deeper, hope is also very much a biblical word. One of the most well-known Bible chapters is 1 Corinthians 13, where verse 13 reads: “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
The fact that the Lord would put hope in with faith and love tells me that hope (in a spiritual sense) is much more than what we call “wishful thinking.” Like faith and love, hope is a powerful force God puts in the hearts of followers of Jesus Christ to help us maintain a biblical perspective on life and the world around us.
Our work here at AFA is to advance the kingdom of God. To promote good and oppose evil. We do that by giving leadership to the Christian community in several areas including politics and government. AFA fights spiritual wickedness every day. In fact, we are often targeted by others for this very reason.
If we look around at what is happening in our country and in the world, it would be easy to despair. There is so much sin and immorality right out in the open today. Fewer Americans are going to church, and sadly, many of our churches are falling into the hands of leaders who compromise with the world. In the broader culture, a growing attitude toward Christians is that we should shut up and stay in our churches.
But Christians can’t do that. Why? Because we have hope in a great God! We have hope that He can change lives and save the country we love from destruction. Like many of you reading this, I have children and grandchildren, and I want to see them have the opportunity to live free. I want them to be able to live in a country that values human life. I want them to grow up in a country that respects law and order.
Without a return of reverence for God, tyranny will one day take our country. That’s how history works. But we still have hope; we know what God has done for our nation in the past. Revivals have swept the land. In fact, the divine impact of the First and Second Great Awakenings is evident even today.
Sometimes we are accused by fellow Christians of putting our faith in tools of man to bring about change in our government and in our culture. But we understand that while we must do our part as the Bible commands (to live righteously and stand for the Lord), we have hope that no matter where the road leads, God will take care of those who have given their lives to Him. And so we trust in the Lord – we have a hope – that no matter what, God reigns now and forever.
That sentiment is captured in the lines from one of my favorite hymns, “The Solid Rock,” by Edward Mote:
My hope is built on 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