“For I know the plans I have you,” declares the Lord, “…plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jer 29:11)
Imagine this scene. A diverse group of persons arrive at the community theater one evening to begin working on the play they will perform a few months from now. The annual production is a tradition in this small town and they are both excited and nervous about getting started. The director distributes the scripts.
The group begins flipping through the script and one person after another makes an odd discovery. There is an entire section missing from the book. Shortly after the climax of the plot, the next act is missing. A page or two, which seems to be the final few scenes, is stapled on at the back. Perplexed, the actors cast sideways glances at one another. Finally, one speaks up and asks the director, “Where is the missing act? How are we supposed to perform that part of the story?”
A playful smile crosses the director’s face as he responds, “That’s the part you’ll improvise.”
Heart rates pick up a bit as the actors start wondering what they’ve gotten themselves into.
Sound familiar? It should. This “improvisation” we call Christian living is based on (1) knowing the story thus far (in the bible) and (2) knowing and trusting the Author—God, for the ending.
“Hope” is about who or what we believe has the last word on how the story ends. The actors will improvise differently depending on how they think the story ends. We will live differently based on who or what we believe holds our story’s end—global financial markets, our children’s accomplishments, our achievements at work, our political party’s success, our moral excellence, and a host of other things.
Only with our Hope in Christ alone can we live faithfully in relation to everyone and everything else in our lives. That true hope is what our church exists to inspire in people. We begin inspiring that hope in others when it lives in us.
So be grounded in the Story of God in Scripture and trust Christ with your Hope for the future. The Author has handed out the script. And He gives His Spirit to guide us as we live day-to-day faithfully and boldly.