“A violent hope broke through and shook the ground . . .” (from “For the Cross,” by Bethel Music)
We sang a new-to-me song during our church service this past Sunday.
There was this one line that challenged me to re-think my version of hope.
I never thought about hope being violent.
This word has always struck me as a gentle thing, like a quiet rain falling or a pastel sunrise.
But it’s true, isn’t it? Sometimes hope only comes through sacrifice. Hope is not a weak concept only offered to those whose lives are just a little messy.
Hope is that bigger-than-life rescuer that hovers over the darkest situation, waiting to offer light and something to cling to.
Hope has the capacity to lift us right up out of despair. It has the power that enables us to take the next step forward when it feels like the mire of this world is sucking us under.
Hope comes from the sacrifice Jesus gave. His death was not a gentle in-his-sleep death. It was brutal, violent, cruel. He sacrificed His life for ours. And the amazing thing is He did this because He loves us. He did this for every person who’s ever been created.
It’s when we are at the end of ourselves, when we’ve made what seems like inexcusable choices, unforgiveable decisions, when the darkness is all we see . . . Hope is there.
We only need to do one thing: accept the truth. The reality of what Jesus has done for us.
Isn’t that what we celebrate on Easter? The Resurrection of the God-Man? Death could not hold Jesus in the grave.
And this . . .
THIS . . .
Is what gives us hope.
No choice, decision, mistake is beyond the hope of forgiveness. Acceptance. Of the love Jesus offers. The hope He offers came from violence. From sacrifice.
Hope becomes reality–a settling presence–when we turn toward Him with a willingness to trust. When we choose to cling to the truth in His word that Jesus is God.
He lived a sinless life.
He was crucified because of love for us.
And, He rose again.
When we cling to this, when we remember that we are loved regardless of what we’ve done? Hope is there, reminding us the work is already finished. The sacrifice made on our behalf. And the depth of love God has for His creation dripped from nail-pierced wrists and feet onto a dirt covered hilltop.
Hope is never a platitude. When we think about what gives us real hope? There’s no room for weakness in our understanding of this word. Hope is powerful. Life-giving. Eternity changing.
As we prepare to celebrate Easter, may it be about more than hunting for Easter eggs with our kids. More even than going to an Easter morning service at church.
May we remember the sacrifice borne of love that was made on our behalf. May we remember that Jesus’ violent death gave birth to perfect hope. And this is something we can stand on no matter what we’ve done.
What about you? How do you define hope? How did hope become more than a word to you?
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