On Hope

Dec 5, 2009 1:22 AM

by binsar

Khotbah Minggu 29 November 2009

Jongerendienst Perki

Romans 5:1-5 (NIV) Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Hope

Story 1: Expatica (2008) News: Suicide rate hits 32-year-low in Netherlands. Just over 1,353 people took their lives in the Netherlands in 2007. For the last 15 years, the Netherlands averaged about 1,500 suicides annually. In 2007, just 1,353 people took their own lives, an 11 percent fall over 2006. The Dutch statistics office also reports that almost half the men and one third of the women who committed suicide in 2007 hanged themselves. Kelompok usia yang paling besar melakukan bunuh diri 35-54. Laki-laki bunuh diri 2 kali lipat lebih banyak dari perempuan. (jumlah bunuh diri rata2 di belanda 1353 out of 16,2 million means average 8 per 1000). Belgium 1857 (year 1999) population 10,2 million = average 18 per 1000. Germany  9765 (year 2006) out of 82,5 million average 11,8 per 1000.

Indonesia’s headlines recently have been triggered by increasing number of individuals who committed suicide in shopping malls. There were two accidents last week alone, both in shopping malls.

Story 2: A case occurred in Ostiglia (also Italy): Franz, a German shepherd dog, was laying on the railways line, near the railway station. Workers always chased away with stones the dog, but soon after the dog returned, and one day, the dog met with the Verona-Bologna train…

Story 3: This case occurred in the Farnese palace (Paris): a white Angora tomcat chased restlessly a pussy cat next door. But the female was indifferent to his advances, and one day the tomcat threw himself through the windows and died. The owner said because of the unshared love…

Why do suicides happened?

An example of a possible trigger (precipitant) for suicide is a real or imagined loss, like the breakup of a romantic relationship, moving, loss (especially if by suicide) of a friend, loss of freedom, or loss of other privileges.

A study report says: Suicide acceptance (In Netherlands) is lower among individuals who espouse religious beliefs than those who do not. Most of the socio-demographic associations of increased suicide acceptance such as unemployed, childless and single status are known risk factors for suicide itself.

What keeps you going when your life falls apart, when circumstances seem unbearable and continuing on seems impossible?

Hope.

Today, we are talking about hope. What is hope? Wikipedia says, Hope is a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life. Hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.

Hope means that we expect something good to happen in the future. There is uncertainty about it, we can only expect it to happen. We expect that something will happen for us in the future.

Usually we are hoping for something good. We hope for new work when we are jobless. We hope to be well when we are sick. We hope to have more money when we are broke. We hope to have someone dear when we are single. We hope to get someone new when we are together with someone. Basically we usually hope for something better in the future than our current condition.

What is hope in christian understanding? The bible mentions that hope is one of the three spiritual gifts of God: faith, hope, and love (1 Cor. 13:13).

From our reading today, we can see that in Rome 4 Paul explained that we achieved justification through faith which is God’s grace. One of the signs of faith is living in hope. Hope comes through faith. Our faith in God makes us believe that God will help us in our lives. This is what Paul wanted to explained in our specific reading today. He wanted to explain that hope comes through faith of the living and loving God.

Now let us examine what hope here really means. Hope in the biblical understanding that Paul explained is a bit different from our current understanding of the word. Hope comes from the Greek word evlpi,j (elpis) means: (1) as an expected and awaited good; (2) as hopeful confidence in a trustworthy person; (3) as expectation of a divinely provided future (the) hope; (4) as a Christian attitude of patient waiting; (5) in combination with prepositions: in (the) expectation of something (Romans 5.2).

Hope (elpis) in its biblical word means “A confident expectation and desire for something good in the future.” When we put our hope in God it does not mean that we expect something good will happened in the future, it means that we know something good will happened. Thus, hope is not “I hope…”, rather it is more like “I know”. When we say, “I hope God will help us” it means that we know that God will help us. Our hope in God is like an anchor that is certain and help us ground our lives. Hebrew 6:19 say that this hope in God functions as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. This is also the reason why the State of Rhode Islands uses the symbol anchor as the symbol of their state.

However, there is another important factor in the role of hope which is suffering in trials. Paul says that we have to rejoice in suffering. He says that trials and sufferings produce endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. Sufferings and trials are given not to weaken our faith, in fact it is a learning to strengthen our character and faith. For instance, it is easier for us to carry a heavy burden when we are trained to carry it bits by bits. When we are used to physical trials, we can endure more each time because our body resistance has increased.

Thus, suffering will always be there, but it is not intended to weaken our hope, in fact it is to strengthen our character and hope. When we experienced suffering, we KNOW that God will help us. It is not an expectation anymore, it is a certainty. When we say “We hope that God will help us” there’s a moral reassurance that it will happen. Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Biblical faith is a confident expectation and desire for good things in the future.

Brothers and sisters, the message of hope today is to strengthen you and to comfort you when you are in times of troubles. When you are panicking, feeling desperate, hopeless, in finding a job, in curing your sickness, in managing your problems; the message is clear, Fear not, for God will help us. God’s help is certain for God’s love is forever. Our God is a loving God, and God will not change. God keeps you and me in God’s love. Our hope in God is a certain hope.

A friend of mine shared his story about the company where he works. The company was planning to lay off some employee from his division because of the crisis that hit the world. He and some of his friends who are also believers are not worried about the possibility of getting fired because they have hope in God’s care upon them. The hope that God will take care of him has taken the worry whether he will be fired or not because his hope is certain, he knows God will take care of him. This is the kind of hope that we can bring into our own lives.

One of the good things about this kind of hope is that we can share it to people who are hopeless. When all other means failed you, when all other hopes left you, you can spread the hope and certainty in God’s love towards everyone. Spread the hope with love. Faith brings us hope, and our hope is in God’s love that is eternal and unchanging. Have hope, and live your life in God’s love!

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