Where Do We Put Our Hope?

Updated: Apr 20

A king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. . . Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love . . Psalm 33:16, 18 RSV

Where do we put our hope?

I love America!  I am proud to be an American.  I am grateful to have won the lottery and been born here.  I am grateful for the freedoms I enjoy – religious, economic, political, social.  I vote.  I have political leanings.  I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had because I live here.  I appreciate the service of our men and women in uniform.  I still feel the goosebumps of a good, traditional Star-Spangled Banner.

However, after saying all this, I realize that our wonderful United States is not God’s kingdom on earth, and it never will be.  Let’s take an extreme example.  For the sake of argument, let’s say that the president, Congress, and the Supreme Court are all fully aligned with my idea of political nirvana.  And let’s say that all the governors and state legislatures along with all the state supreme courts are fully aligned with me.  Would this situation answer all our issues?  Would it bring equality and prosperity to all?  Would it end violence and crime?  Would it end social injustice?  Would it bring world peace?  Would it be an answer to Jesus’ prayer, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven”?  (Matt. 6:10)

Or would it end up as it has down through history?  Egos would surface.  New factions and divisions would arise.  Self-interest groups would push agendas.  There would be arguing and infighting.  Why?  Why would this happen?  Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

We cannot help ourselves.

Think of the unity of the early church.  “One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all.”  (Ephesians 4:5,6)

That was our wonderful start!  And are we just as united today?  Hmm.  Over 200 different Christian religions in the United States; over 45,000 worldwide!  It is kind of embarrassing.  If we, as Christians, cannot be 100% united (in this fallen world), how can we expect politicians and judges to be any different?  We are all imperfect.

So where do we put our hope and trust?  Earl Palmer discussed this in a sermon many years ago.  He said some put their trust and hope in their family and friends.  But people can change.  Parents can die.  There can be a falling out with siblings and children, or they can pass away with sickness.  The same can be true with friends.  No, family and friends are not a permanent source for hope and trust.

Some put their trust and hope in their job or career.  But companies downsize, restructure, are acquired or go out of business.  Many people, through no fault of their own, lost jobs and security in the pandemic.  Economically, there are no certainties.  No, our job or career is not a permanent source of hope and trust.

What about the church?  Certainly, we can put our hope and trust in the church!  Certainly, my pastor, my leadership team, my brothers in the faith will not let me down!  Earl Palmer said, “No, you can’t put your faith in the church.  We shoot our wounded!”  Sad, but all too often, true.  Sometimes we just don’t know what to do with those that “don’t fit in.”  We are imperfect too.

So, where do we put our hope and trust?  Not in our family and friends, job or career, or church?

We have to put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:10)

Today I walk a tightrope.  I want to be a good, supportive, law-abiding citizen.  I want to do my part in making our home, our city, our state, our country, our world a better place for all to live.  At the same time, I don’t trust the United States to provide something that only God’s kingdom can furnish.  I choose to put my ultimate hope in Jesus and His kingdom.

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