I’d like to give some, but I have only one kind to offer.
I’d either be dead or a lonely drunk if it weren’t for Jesus Christ. And whichever of those two millstones I’d have hanging around my neck, I’d be headed to the bottom of the same lake. Without the death of Jesus Christ on a Roman cross, I’d be looking never-ending (and deserved) wrath square in the face.
But I’m not, now, and thus comes the only hope I have to give to you, the only good and strong hope anyone could give you. The God who built beauty and who is love offers you peace with Him through faith in Jesus.
That’s the surest promise I can commend.
It is the main reason why I am less fanatical about smaller hopes than I used to be. I no longer think a political system or a philosophy I learned in school or a band (I used to think either U2 or the Goo Goo Dolls would save the world) deserves my utmost devotion. And it’s why I don’t immediately pull out psychological terms when talking with a broken co-worker or simply try to offer self-esteem to a loved one in pain.
I believe in my bones that the only hope that is of any eternal good is the sure Messiah who died to ransom sinners.
None other can truly satisfy, heal, or redeem.
Genesis 29 tells us about an unwanted daughter who became an unwanted wife who became a mother of the Messiah:
“Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, ‘I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel…’ So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her. Then Jacob said to Laban, ‘Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.’ So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and made a feast. But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her… And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, ‘What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?’
Laban said, ‘It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.’ Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife… So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.
When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, ‘Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.’ She conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, He has given me this son also.’ And she called his name Simeon. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, ‘Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.’ Therefore his name was called Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘This time I will praise the Lord.’ Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing.”
This Leah was pawned off by her father and unloved by her husband. She was used as a bargaining chip by her earthly dad and disdained by her earthly betrothed.
But she was blessed by the only wise God.
After being hated by Laban and being hated by Jacob, and after giving birth to three boys that she thought would win her her husband’s love and being wrong, she gave birth to a fourth by God’s grace and praised Him.
And that fourth son would become the Judah whose descendant would be Jesus Christ.
Do you know what the Leahs and the Sauls and the drunks and the spiritually dead need? Do you know what can cleanse and fix them?
It ain’t a social program or financial prosperity, brother.
“It will be counted to us who believe in Him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
From Romans 4 and 5
So be it if Laban would sell his daughter for seven years of shepherding because she wasn’t pretty enough. God would make her the mother of the Messiah so that someday the world would know He loves the despised and overlooked.
The Gospel is the only good hope, and it is the only salvation for sinners. The Gospel is best news for the ones the world doesn’t want, and most offensive to those who won’t stop clinging to what the world sells.
Laban couldn’t carry the sheep and the stuff he’d traded for beyond his deathbed. But the daughter he thought was ugly and expendable is worshiping the King who came from her bloodline in joy right now.
Don’t tell me about your houses and fame, world. They’ll do neither me nor the Leahs of this world any good. We need Him. He will love us and save us in a way you can’t.
I offer the only hope I have to the wounded daughters and the confused sons of the world: The love and rescue of Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God.
I defy the world to offer a better peace and a steadier love than the One of the man Christ Jesus. I dare the darkness to whisper its lies to the prodigals, because those of us who have tasted the real thing will shout from the rooftops that He is better.
I want to offer you hope, so I offer you Jesus. Come and see the risen Rescuer. No one truly dies who comes to Him, and everyone dies who doesn’t.
Hope is only as good as the thing you put it in. I commend to you the only certain one there is.