Not Looking Around Us, But Looking Forward in Hope
Updated: Oct 26, 2022
I think, too often, our hope is placed in the things we see. Think about it a minute: how hard do we fight in politics, do we fight for a piece of Real Estate, a position on the team or at work, for retirement and medical benefits, or anything else for that matter. This is the human struggle: fight for territory and die, taking none of it with you. Believers in Christ should be different, but, really, we’re not. We’re supposed to be looking forward, in hope, to resurrection in Christ, both in heaven and in the New Creation. Yet we still fight like mad for this time and this place.
In my study this morning, I read the words of Paul in Romans, that “hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” (8:24). We have no hope here on earth. But we can enjoy this life as we fix our eyes on Christ and the hope of Eternity with Him. C.S. Lewis put it this way: “Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth 'thrown in': aim at Earth and you will get neither” (The Joyful Christian). We’re not supposed to be looking around us. We’re supposed to be seeking God. Jesus said that we should “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all these things [clothing, food, shelter, etc.] will be added” to us.
This world has no hope for us. Even in godly marriages, with godly children, we will be parted by death, or when our kids move on. This is a place of sorrow, ruled over by sin, and its consequence, death. But we’re not to look around us for hope. We look forward to the place where we shall see God face to face, where there is no sorrow, no fear, and no separation. Where we will live and work and grow forever in the presence of God, and where we will have joy everlasting. This is where we keep our eyes, what we work toward, and what we seek to bring others to, and in doing so will find our hope fulfilled when we hear “well done, good and faithful servant.”
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.