During my final deployment to Iraq in 2009-2010, I was stationed at Al Asad in the Western Anbar Province. During this 13 month deployment it was common for my unit to receive care packages from elementary schools, churches, and community organizations showing their support to the troops.
One day in October we received another shipment containing letters of support. As my letter (addressed to “Any Marine”) was passed to me, I placed it in my pocket to read at a more convenient time. Later that evening I retrieved the letter from my pocket and honestly laughed out loud when I read it. It was penned by a 1st grader from Oregon. The young man had drawn a picture of a tank with an American Flag in the background. This boy must have been a child of few words, because across the top of the letter was his 5-word message to me (written in alternating red and blue letters). It simply read, “I hope you make it.”
After sharing this kid’s motivating remarks with a few of my Marines, I honestly thought…I hope I make it too!
What’s interesting about the word hope is that for many it is used to express uncertainty rather than certainty…almost like a wish. For example: “I hope the Cowboys make the playoffs,” or “I hope we have something good for dinner tonight.” Uncertainty is clearly tied to this type of hope.
Conversely, that’s absolutely not what is meant by Christian hope. To quote John Piper, “As believers, our hope comes from the promises of God rooted in the work of Christ.”
If we don’t have the hope that Christ is for us, then we will be engaged in self-preservation and self-enhancement. We will cross our fingers and rely on our strong desires and wishes. We could even perhaps decide, by sheer strength and will-power, to be positive thinkers and thus make the best of our brief and uncertain lives. There is no hope in this type of existence.
So let’s look away from the circumstances that confront us, look to Christ, look to the promises, and hold fast to them. Simply put…our hope is faith in the future tense.
What or who is your hope and faith in?