No Hope

Guest Author: Paula Harrington

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. -1 Thessalonians 4:13

Recently, the afterschool Bible club at my little elementary school finally got to the New Testament. After a couple of years of learning about creation, the patriarchs and those great stories of the Old Testament, we are now immersing ourselves into the greatest story ever told.

I loved watching little eyes light up as we discussed Jesus and why he is the most important person we’ll ever meet. I read Luke 2:11, "Unto us a Savior is born" and we discussed that the “us” was not only the shepherds in the fields that night, but us! Me and you, where we are and what we’re going through right now.

My small group consists of kids, 5-7 years old, and the word Savior isn’t one used too often in our circles. I asked the class what a Savior was and soon a sweet little girl quickly spoke up, "Somebody who saves us?" The class grew quiet as we discussed that truth and let the enormity of it sink in. Maybe it’s time that each of us take a time out and meditate on the most important aspect of our lives.

I don't know about you but I need saving. Not just the eternal life insurance but I need daily salvation for myself and from myself; my shortcomings, frustrations, thoughts and reactions. These have a tendency to get me into trouble. I need to know that I am being held accountable to someone who knows me, loves me and is much wiser than I could ever be. I need to know that there is someone who offers protection from the destruction of grief and fear. I need someone who can direct me in my relationship with others.

When I think I have all the right answers and want to pave new roads, demanding my rights and solutions, my Savior smiles and calmly reminds me, “This isn’t about you.” When I keep trying to walk a road where I may not belong at the time, he patiently waits and redirects my steps. When I get frustrated and downright angry at others because they’re not doing what I think they need to be, he reminds me of where I once was and where he has slowly brought me.

He reminds me over and over that this journey isn’t a solo act but a group effort. He isn’t my Jesus. He is ours. He puts us into groups with those we may not have much in common with and tells us to love, give and walk this dangerous path together. We need Christ but we need him with each other. Jesus never expected us to follow him alone. We are called to follow in community. We are called into a body of believers; a small part of a greater purpose. The one who spoke the universe into motion calls us his children, family, church.

I need a Savior because without him, I have no hope. As I scrolled Facebook recently, my heart ached at the many updates from friends who are struggling with death, divorce, cancer and the misery they leave behind. I turned off the computer and absentmindedly turned on the news. There, evils competed for my attention. Our neighbors are ravaged by social injustice, homelessness, drugs, crime, terrorism and a general distrust of authority. The breakdown of the family is real and prevalent and has gone on for so long that no one has been spared. Mothers and fathers who weren't parented have no idea how to parent. Instead they are overwhelmed and afraid leaving children to raise themselves and continue the misguided cycle.

We live in a culture that tells our sons and daughters that their worth is wrapped up in the gadgets they have, the clothes they wear and the bodies they flaunt. And the more skin they show, the more successful they'll be.

Sin is toxic and rampant and creates people who are empty, brokenhearted and in a panic ridden state of despair. Men and women achingly crying out for something to prove to them that their lives and the lives of their loved ones matter yet they continue to search for peace, comfort, hope and joy in a world that doesn’t have it to offer.

Even those who follow closely to Christ are not safe from the pain of this world. As a wise writer once said, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” Children of God hurt yet we have what the world so desperately craves, hope.

Christians, ask yourself the question, "What does Jesus have that the world doesn't?" and then take your answers into that neighborhood that you have always avoided. Sit with the weary and broken and tell your story of redemption. Find the single mom or dad who has never had someone truly care for them and make time to influence them. Teach then, love them. Watch God change them.

The world is begging for a Savior. They are grieving. They are dying. They are precious souls looking for hope. Share yours.

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