Unshakeable Hope – Melanie Salte
I don’t have to tell you that we are in difficult, distressing and disappointing times. I have felt so many feelings in the last few weeks, it’s overwhelming. If you were to take inventory and name what you’ve been feeling just in the last few days, what words would you use?
Anxious, fearful, hopeful, disappointed, joyful, content, frustrated, impatient, ashamed, loved, overlooked, seen, appreciated, proud, sad, happy, angry, grateful, just off, tired, refreshed?
So many internal emotions, so many news reports on our phones and computers, so many new expectations and school assignments and new rhythms. Do you feel a bit or totally destabilized? Unsettled all around you and within you too? I feel like I’ve lost my balance, my footing – and I’m not just talking about that last living room workout I did.
Last week, Jude, Willis and I were sitting on the couch reading books and out of the blue, completely unrelated to what we were reading, Jude asks, “Mom, am I going to get sick?”
Take a breath. I don’t want to lie but I don’t want him to feel afraid. I decided to go with the truth.
“Well, bud, we’re going to do our best to protect you by staying home and washing our hands a lot and listening to what the doctors tell us to do. But I can’t control everything and so you might get sick.”
He takes a moment, “Will you and dad get sick?”
“Well, bud, we might.”
Jude and Willis both look at me. “Well, mom, then what’s our hope?”
Whoa. Full stop. My brain kicks into overdrive. I’m running scenarios. I start praying. What can I say that’s actually true. What is our hope? What’s the guarantee in all of this?
“Jude, Willis, I can’t promise that you or I or someone else we love won’t get sick. I can’t even promise that people won’t die. But our super strong, never breaking hope in all of this is that no matter what happens, we will live forever with Jesus if we follow Him. And while we’re walking through hard things here and now, Jesus is always with us because He’s alive. When everything else falls away, that’s the one guarantee. That’s our hope.”
They were content with that and we continued Peter Pan. Note to self: hard conversations with kids do not occur when I am expecting them to.
But this moment with my kids has stuck with me. I keep coming back to it and the truth that has been made so clear in these last weeks is this: the resurrection matters! The resurrection matters. And in such a time as this, the resurrection matters to me more now than ever before, in a real and tangible way, in a way that gives me peace, settles my spirit and reframes my fears.
Why does the resurrection matter? In Romans 6:3-11 it says,
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness fo life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the head he died, he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Jesus’ death mattered because, by it, He defeated sin and its power. And by His resurrection, He opens the way to new life, here and now, but also new life after we die. The resurrection matters because, by it, Jesus not only defeated sin but also defeated death. In 1 Peter 1:3 it says,
“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, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
We have a living hope because our hope is Jesus Christ. Our hope is life with Jesus Christ and Jesus is not dead but He is alive. And this living hope is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for us. Our living hope is that even after we die, we will live, for our hope is the One who defeated death. And just as we follow Him in death, we will follow Him into new life for eternity.
I shy away from talking about eternity. I don’t ever want to use our eternal hope and home as an excuse to mail it in in the here and now. But in this shaky and uncertain times, I am grasping for the unshakable and what I come up holding is this hope in eternal life with Jesus. I do have hope because Jesus defeated death and is alive right here and now and I know that even if the worst-case scenario happens, although I may die, yet I will live. This is what I am promised as a follower of Jesus. This is what you are promised. Though we may die, yet we will live, for Jesus defeated death for all time and is alive. This is who we declare as Lord and King. This is the One we love. This is the One we follow after. The One who died to conquer our sin, and then rose to conquer our death.
And so, in the face of fear, I have an antidote. In the presence of my anxiety, I have a response. I have a living hope that stands in the face of fear and panic. All the worst-case scenarios you’ve been running in your mind, I’ve been running in my mind. Even if they all happen, we will still be standing with the One we love. We will still enjoy Communion with Christ and all these beautiful believers and followers of Jesus. There is life beyond our death because Jesus defeated death when He rose on the third day. The resurrection matters for right now. It tells a bigger story than what we can see right now in front of us. And so it reframes what we can see right now in front of us. There is something sturdy in the shakiness of these times and it is all because of the resurrection of Jesus.
We have a living, breathing, hope.
Thanks be to God.
What feels shaky in your life right now?
Why does the resurrection matter to you?
How could you ground yourself in the unshakable hope of the living Jesus this week?