“If the vision tarry, wait for it,
for it will come:
and it will not be late.”
—Habakkuk 2:3, Moffatt
Today many people have lost hope in this topsy-turvy world; no hope in government ... in society ... and, sadly, they have lost hope in God. Nonetheless, to many of us, hope is the vision that whatever happens, Christ is in control. Hope goes very deep; it is in the marrow of our bones.
On the walls of a cellar in Cologne, Germany, after World War II were found these words:
“I believe in the sun even when it is not shining. I believe in love even when I feel it not. I believe in God even when He is silent.”
Hope is a light burning within us and is essential for a fruitful life, and it hinges on attitude and outlook.
Two men were thrust into prison. One looked through the bars at the ground outside and saw it stained with blood. He wailed that death was at hand; tomorrow he would surely be beheaded.
The other prisoner looked through the bars at the sky. It was cloudless, the stars twinkled, and the moon was bright. So he commented that the jail was not such a bad place after all, and perhaps he would be given mercy tomorrow.
The Bible has a great deal to say about faith, hope and love. The famed love chapter of the Scriptures ends with those very words. It reads, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
C.S. Lewis commented: “A glimpse is not a vision. But to a man on a mountain road by night a glimpse of the next three feet of road may matter more than a vision of the horizon.”
Someone said: “Faith is building on what you know is here, so you can reach what you know is there.”
Faith, hope and vision are cousins and all three of the words have to do with expectancy.
In his writings, the Apostle Paul is the epitome of vision, hope, and faith. As one writer points out, his eyes are always illumined; the cherry tone is never absent from his speech.
The apostle is an optimist. His writings are laced with such elevating words as “rejoicing in hope,” “armor of light,” and “walking in the light.” What an example for us to follow!
The apostolic optimism is not shallow nor does it mean that he glossed over godless living. Note the appalling catalogue of evil which he faced:
“Senseless hearts,” “fools,” “uncleanness,” “vile,” “reprobate minds,” “wickedness,” “maliciousness,” “full of envy,” “without natural affection,” and “unmerciful.”
The apostle worked among such people. In fact, they beat him with whips and rods and left him for dead. He was shipwrecked, hungry, cold and, at times, forsaken. Yet he called all of those torments and trials “light afflictions.” What an optimist!
Thomas Scott said: “No affliction nor temptation, no guilt nor power of sin, no wounded spirit nor terrified conscience, should induce us to despair of help and comfort from God.”
There is a great mountain in Central Africa which, if a person wants to see, he must seize a fortunate hour in the early morning, for all the rest of the day it is swathed in clouds and is invisible.
Is that like our hope, our faith, our vision, gleaming out now and then but soon covered with fog and lost in darkness? God’s will is that we “walk in the light as He is in the light.”
Have you visited the Hall of Faith lately? Turn to Hebrews, 11th chapter and review again the biblical heroes of faith. Visit with them as they “shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword.”
A seabird was kept in a garden, confined within high walls and with clipped wings, set to pick up grubs and insects. The bird ought to have been way out, hovering over the ocean or soaring with sunlit wings.
Let’s loose our hope, and let it rise to God; enter within the veil and gaze upon the glory of the “inheritance incorruptible and undefiled.”