Without hope, there is nothing to look forward to

Published 5:10 am Sunday, June 5, 2022

I make it a habit to seldom turn on the TV as I travel because I usually have a lot of work to do and there’s just not much to watch.
I did reluctantly turn it on recently though, only to be inundated with paid programming infomercials up to my eyeballs.
Everything from how to make money, weight loss inventions galore, how to cook better and quicker, flashlights that will do almost anything and that latest invention you just have to have! Each sales pitch ending in the urgent tag line, “while quantities last!”
The smartest man who ever lived was a man named Solomon.
In the book of Proverbs, he reminds us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Then he writes, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
This book, the book of Proverbs and the book of Ecclesiastes written by Solomon contain a wealth of knowledge, dealing with everything from moral uprightness, to finances, from priorities for living to child raising.
In fact, the wisdom contained in these two books alone, if taught in public school would drastically change our world for the better, in my humble opinion of course!
But listen to his counsel in Ecclesiastes chapter one, “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?”
This wise man looked around at all he had, and believe you me, he had a lot! He looked at it all, all he had and all he could have and saw it as nothing.
Kind of sad, you say? Not at all.
Did you hear where he was looking? “under the sun”. I believe he is implying that to find true joy and happiness that will last beyond this life, you must look beyond the here and now, beyond the sun if you will.
Paul said it this way, “If in this life only we have hope, we are of all men most miserable.” But our hope can lie beyond the here and now!
Hallford E. Luccock writes, “One night at dinner, a man who had spent many summers in Maine, fascinated his companions by telling of his experiences in a little town named Flagstaff. The town was to be flooded, as part of a large lake for which a dam was being built. In the months before it was to be flooded, all improvements and repairs in the whole town were stopped. What was the use of painting a house if it were to be covered with water in six months? Why repair anything when the whole village was to be wiped out? So, week-by-week, the whole town became more and more bedraggled, more gone to seed, more woebegone. Then he added by way of explanation: “Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present.”
What a sad scenario for living, no hope. But I want you to know today that because of Jesus you can have hope for the now and for the future.
I found this story fascinating. A number of years ago researchers performed an experiment to see the effect hope has on those undergoing hardship.
Two sets of laboratory rats were placed in separate tubs of water. The researchers left one set in the water and found that within an hour they had all drowned. The other rats were periodically lifted out of the water and then returned. When that happened, the second set of rats swam for over 24 hours.
Why? Not because they were given a rest, but because they suddenly had hope! Those animals somehow hoped that if they could stay afloat just a little longer, someone would reach down and rescue them.
If hope holds such power for rodents, how much greater should the effect be on our lives.
Friend, stay afloat! Someone is reaching down for you right now.
Look beyond your circumstances and see the hope that is found in these words, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Heaven won’t run out of hope, my friend.
The operator is standing by, call now!

Tim Throckmorton is the national director of Family Resource Council’s Community Impact Teams.

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