October 13 I Sunday
1 Thessalonians 1
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” —Hebrews 11:1
Looking forward is a theme that runs throughout the Book of Hebrews. To share in God’s holiness is the goal of the Christian life to which we look forward, but underlying this, there is an ingredient we do not talk much about—hope.
Paul said, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). We will agree that faith and love are essential, but hope sounds like wishful thinking or a form of escapism. Scriptural meaning of hope is not, “I hope it’ll be a sunny day,” kind of a thing, but a confidence we have in the present, which orientates us to a future confidence. Paul tells us the great mystery hidden for generations and now unveiled is “…Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). The hope of glory is attaining to the moral likeness of Christ, which we will not reach to its fullest measure in this life, but is a certainty upon entering our eternal home.
Austrian Jew Viktor Frankl was an expert on the impact of hope in our lives. He specialized in psychiatry, a field that was then in its infancy during the 1930s. He worked with patients who had attempted suicide. When asked why they wanted to end their lives, they all told him things dealing with their past. He came to the conclusion that their problem was not their past, but a lack of a sense of future. He began to develop this idea of orientating our lives around a
future that held a future hope.
In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl tells his own story, where he declined a scholarship in the United States and remained in Austria. In the late 1930s, the Third Reich was growing in power, and Frankl was taken to a concentration camp, first in Dachau, then in Auschwitz, where he lost his wife and parents. During this time, he noted those who had a vigour and strength were ones who looked forward to the future, continually planning and imagining things they would do.
The glorious thing is that no matter what situation we are in, we can look forward to a future where God is taking us. In our journey to spiritual maturity, look back at the great cloud of witnesses who have gone on before us; look up to Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith; look out to hardships and sufferings, knowing God is molding us; and finally, look forward in this journey with confidence, because we have been sealed forever by the Holy Spirit, and will one day stand before God, fully clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
Prayer: Magnificent Father, with all my heart, I want to know Christ better. He is my confidence now and for my future. Thank You, Lord.