I recently took the girls out for donuts. Grandma had given them each a coupon for a free donut, and they were eager to redeem that piece of paper for all sorts of sweet goodness.
The problem was, the coupons had expired the day before, so there was some trepidation as we made our way down the highway. “I hope they still take the coupon,”the younger one said about 18 times.
“Don’t worry,”I replied. “I think they’ll honor your coupon. They want our business.”
Being savvy business people, the donut shop did, indeed, honor the coupons, and I proved their wisdom by purchasing another half-dozen to go along with the free donuts. As we went on our merry way, the youngest, her hope realized, sat in the back licking all that sugary goodness off her fingers, feeling content.
I’ve been thinking about hope lately.
Last week I had a rich conversation with a friend about hope. Our church leadership team is reading a book about grounding our identity in hope. Another friend lives near Hope, British Columbia. He has an acquaintance who works on the other side of town. “He likes to say,”quipped my friend, “that his office is beyond Hope.”
Sometimes our hopes are mundane, like hoping for donuts or a sports victory. Sometimes our hopes are achingly deep, like hoping for a healthy diagnosis after a medical test, or hoping our children make it home safely through a long, dark night.
There are some, however, who have lost hope. Sometimes they sit in my office and share heartbreaking stories of betrayal, loss and tragedy, events that leave them feeling hopeless. Surviving day to day, they don’t have the energy left to think about tomorrow, much less hope for better days to come. It’s a tragic place to find oneself.
This first Sunday in April, millions of Christians will rise up early in the morning to declare once again the ground of their hope: that the grave isn’t final, that death doesn’t win, that life and love have the final say. “Christ is risen”is the shout heard round the world. Hope is firmly grounded in the return of light after darkness.
This is our hope, the future we long for and the reality in which we live: life goes on even after our final breath here. Despots and tyrants are overthrown. The hungry are fed and the poor are lifted up. Healing comes to those who hurt, and judgment comes upon those who bring sorrow and pain, preying upon the weak and the downtrodden.
What do you hope for? As we celebrate this Easter weekend, I hope that you all are walking in hope –– hope for our present reality, and hope for the ages to come. Look ahead and see better days coming. Offer a word of hope to those around you. Even in the darkest hour, believe me: our hope is not in vain. We live in the light of an ever-dawning sun.
On behalf of the Key Peninsula Ministerial Association, I wish you a blessed and happy Easter Season.
Dan Whitmarsh is pastor at Lakebay Community Church. You can contact him at email@example.com
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