Are you feeling a little hopeless lately?
I know I have. This has been a difficult fall. On a personal level, my father passed away in early September after a four year battle with cancer. You can read about that here and here.
While we were in the hospital with him, the country was hit by not one, but two, hurricanes. Wildfires in the West gobbled up land and houses and lives. There have been people killed in mass shootings and by cars used as weapons.
My Facebook feed was full of finger pointing and anger and hostility.
Even as I write this, one of my best friends is slowly losing her lung function to rejection and is facing a second transplant. She and her husband waited for several years to adopt a little boy. She found out she was in rejection a week after they celebrated his first birthday.
It has all felt rather hopeless and overwhelming and I’ve felt the desire to pull inward and hide in my house, preferably with the covers pulled over my head.
Finding Hope In the Pages Of a Book
Then I went to the library (so many good things in my life start with that phrase!), and as I perused the shelves I came across Jon Eldredge’s latest book, All Things New.
It blew a fresh wind of hope into my heart and mind that I didn’t even realize I desperately needed.
The whole premise behind the book is that we, as believers, have only this vague, shadowy idea of heaven, and to be honest, it sounds kind of boring – like an eternal church service or something.
Eldredge argues that our ultimate home is not heaven, but a restored New Earth where the things we hold dear and love will be restored in their true fullness and beauty. He backs up his assertions with a lot of Scripture, and it’s impossible not to catch the vision he lays out.
The idea is somewhat breathtaking in its scope, this idea of hope in the next life that isn’t just vague. I’ve been reading through the Gospels this spring and summer, and just finished up Luke which was the last one on my list (I read Matthew, John, Mark and then Luke for some reason).
One of the things that stood out to me so clearly was that Jesus had an eternal perspective. While He loved people and had compassion on them and healed their physical bodies, He never lost sight of the importance of their eternal souls. This was incredibly fresh in my mind when my dad passed away. (You can read about my thoughts here).
That is not to say, Eldredge is saying we shouldn’t enjoy and live fully in this life, but we’d all be lying (or just be incredibly young and/or inexperienced), to not know that life can be hard and even brutal sometimes. It can definitely wear us down and make our hope seem anemic at best. It can make being intentional in this life seem pointless and without purpose if we aren’t careful.
As C.S. Lewis said, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most fo the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of hte other world that they have become ineffective in this.”
If we are going to press on in this increasingly difficult and complicated world, we have to have a clear vision and hope for our future. If we want to make a difference here and now, we can’t lose sight of the then and later.
“Much of the transcendent purpose God has for human life can only be properly discerned in light of eternity.”
If you feel short on hope these days, check out All Things New. I promise you it will breathe new life into your tired and worn out hope!