Because of Hope, We Endure

Romans 8:24,25 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Ask John Paul Hundley how fragile life is. Be prepared for a long talk. His unexpected need for by-pass surgery recently powerfully reminded him that life is very fragile. The lessons he learned from that experience combined with the lessons he remembered serve as the basis of much of his mission effort now.

Life changes, sometimes quickly. It is amazing how quickly a health problem or a death can alter life irreversibly. One moment you are confident about your future as you think you are in full control. The next moment those plans are impossible and look ridiculous.

Consider some of our arrogant presumptions.

“I am in control of my life!”
“I know what I am going to do with my life!”
“I know what my future holds!”
“What I make of myself is up to me!”

Jesus once said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). Life has two primary banks that receive deposits. Be careful about which you select to receive your deposits. One pays interest only during the years of physical existence. One pays its dividends after death.

How much would the price of gasoline have to rise to alter your job/career dramatically? How much would the price of natural gas have to increase to make the temperature in your home fall or cause you to take cooler showers or baths? How scarce would water have to be for you to return to a single bathroom? How expensive would electricity have to be before we unplugged many of our technological advances?

When we place our trust in the physical, life becomes more uncertain the longer we live. When we are young, we are easily deceived. Too commonly life is summed up in the words, “If I only had ...” Then the day comes when we say, “If I could only do ...” Then comes the time when we know having is meaningless and doing is pointless. Is it not fascinating to realize that advertisements concerning the “golden years” seek to explain what we are missing by using situations we never had?

God informs us existence in this world is not what He intended. He also informs us that a life is coming that is what He intends. As certain as God exists, He assures us that existence exists! He assures us that this delightful, secure existence is worth the investment of this imperfect, insecure existence. We make this existence imperfect and insecure! He will make that existence delightful and secure!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 4 May 2006

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