A Foolish Hope
May 5, 2020
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19a, NIV 1984).
He called me on my cell and asked if he could come to see me today. My clinic was light due to the virus and he was welcomed. I’ve known him for a few years as a patient and as a brother in Christ. He had a few symptoms to discuss but mostly wanted to talk. After settling into the chair beside my desk, he placed his cap in his lap and asked how long he might live, given the status of his illness. “I’m not afraid of my own death,” he said. “But I want to be sure to spend my last days well. I have people I need to see. I want to give them hope.”
Do you have people you need to see?
Do you want to give them hope?
I am amazed at my patient’s desire for service rather than self-preservation, for giving rather than receiving, for refusing to focus on his own life-constricting future. I guess I should not be surprised, as he follows One who did the same.
His words challenged me to think of those I need to see and to carry a message of hope.
Who are those persons? What is my message?
What was my patient’s message? Certainly, my patient is not able to share a hope he does not possess. He cannot share a hope for a long life, as his is likely to be very short. He cannot share a hope for wealth, as all of his clothes were bought in a consignment store. He cannot share a hope for lasting relationships, as his wife has left him due to his disabilities. He cannot share a hope he does not have; even Jesus could not do that.
The Jesus my patient follows lived very few years. He had no wealth and watched His friends desert Him in the end. If my patient offers hope to the world, it seems to be a Jesus kind of hope. It seems a bit foolish.
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8, NIV 1984).
A foolish kind of hope, if ended on Golgotha between two thieves.
But Jesus’ death was not the end of His hope, and it was the beginning of ours.
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11, NIV 1984).
Our Christ, who seemed to live a life of foolish hope, now calls us to join Him with hope impossible, hope eternal, hope unlimited by all that threatens to crush us now, hope made actual by His sacrifice.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3, NIV 1984).
This is the hope my patient and I can share.
Do I have people I need to see?
Let me hope in You alone.