Hope Springs Eternal? No, A Living and Eternal Hope
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3
Opening day of the baseball season begins with optimism for every fanbase, even those from the north side of Chicago. The teams are all even in the standings and there is chance for every team before the games begin. After the season begins and a team starts to lose, “there’s always next season” is the optimistic view.
In 1732, within his “Essay on Man,” English poet Alexander Pope wrote the memorable phrase “hope springs eternal in the human breast.” The usage of the expression today is far-removed from Pope’s original usage. Today, the phrase is usually likened to the triumph of the human spirit or that optimism from fans at the beginning of a new sports season. A Christian worldview is markedly different than the type of “optimism” that is espoused in our culture today. Christians expect hardship, suffering, and oppression in our fallen world. Our understanding of original sin infecting humanity leads Christians to being more pessimistic about what we expect from this world. Optimism is not equivalent to faith.
Optimism is also not the same as hope. For Christians, hope is the certainty that we have on account of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. We have a living hope because the One in whom we hope is alive. Athletes eventually retire and their teams rebuild. Political leaders pass on the mantle to others. But the One who suffered and died for us is alive now! Jesus alone is the source of our hope.
“Hope springs eternal” usually is understood that each time someone starts a new adventure that they can do so with optimism. For Christians, hope does not spring eternal; it is an eternal hope. We do not live waiting for the next opportunity and wish that it turns out for the best. We live waiting for eternity and we do so with certainty and confidence because Jesus Christ lives. This shall be my confidence.
Prayer - Almighty God the Father, through Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, You have overcome death and opened the gate of everlasting life to us. Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of our Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by Your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan