My Hope: Trusting in the Goodness of God

Hope has sustained me throughout my life. I have had hope even a very long time before I knew that hope comes from God, or what my hope was for. Hope is a longing for eternity and hope comes from love. I read a good example of hope today. A woman’s two sons were killed in a tornado that destroyed their home. She was badly injured. She had peace from God because of her hope that she would see them again. She had hope that their purpose had been fulfilled, and that no one is here without purpose and since they trusted in God, she knew that He was fulfilling his purpose in them.

Hope is having the perspective of eternity. If all we believe in is this life, then of course suffering and death are absolutely cruel and unjustifiable. But if we can lift ourselves above that and consider things from the perspective that this life on earth is a very tiny part of everything – that we live in a time bubble and there is an entire kingdom outside that bubble, then we can put suffering and death into perspective. They are grievous and horrible, but our suffering is not the end of everything. There is something else more real out there that we can only imagine from where we are now. We can also put other things into perspective: material possessions and power in this life are only temporary, but love is eternal and intuitively we know this even without being told.

Imagine an unborn baby and the world in which it lives. It is warm, dark, and cozy. The baby knows nothing of the world outside that awaits her. Her parents go to great lengths to speak to her. Her mother tells her how she cannot wait for her to be born so she can hold her and rock her and put her in the crib in the beautiful room she has decorated for that baby. The baby is comforted by her mother’s words but she doesn’t know what they mean or where that sound comes from. In fact, there is no way that the mother could ever communicate to the baby what awaited her. The baby cannot understand the mother’s language and even if she could, she could not understand what the mother is describing because there is no perspective from which to understand it. What is a world? What is a crib? What is it to be held by loving arms? What is it to breathe or to taste food, to chew and swallow and enjoy? To feel the cool air, to smell a flower? These things that are familiar to us are unexplainably foreign to a baby in the womb. Though the baby is completely surrounded by the mother’s presence and in fact could not survive without it, the gap between the baby and the mother is uncrossable. Not until the baby is forcibly expelling from the warmth and shelter of the womb does it becomes possible for her to even begin to understand life outside it. Does the baby experience fear? Dread? Even suffering on her way to the new life ahead of her? Birth is, in fact, the end of life in the womb. A kind of death, if you will.

I’ve long thought this is a very good analogy for this life, our eventual death, and passing into another dimension to be with God in his eternity. Even though God could, if he wanted to, explain to us everything that will be after this life and how it will all make sense, there would still be no way we can understand it. Some believe there are passages in the Bible that explain what the afterlife will be like. Perhaps they do – but does anyone truly understand those words? We are just as surrounded by God as the baby in the womb is surrounded by her mother. We are all around encompassed by God. But we cannot understand what that means or explain it or prove it. We only know it because we hope that it is true, because the words of Scripture have told us. Just like a baby, we cannot know what it will be like outside of time, after this life. We have our interpretations, we have our desires, and our imaginations that fill our mind with pictures of what it will be like. Some of us think there will be nothing. Some of us believe there will be a scene that looks like what we have known on earth because we have read words that describe Heaven that way. But we really cannot know because words cannot describe to a time-bound creation what life will be like outside of time. All we can do is trust and hope. Hope is born of love and love is the most powerful force in the universe.

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