Hope doesn't look backwards
I think we can all agree that the last couple of years have been challenging to say the least. Lockdowns, restrictions, Covid tests, face masks, supply chain issues and so many other things have impacted life as we know it…or should be as we knew it?
But to start this year I made a resolution. Now I’m not one for new year’s resolutions but I got to thinking that a lot of people kept looking backwards, they kept dwelling upon the challenges of the past two years and they allowed that to influence their thinking about the present day, and more than that their future.
So I have decided to leave the past where it belongs, in the past, and to look forward to the good things that are in store for my family and myself in the months to come. Sure the road is likely to be a little bumpy along the way, that is to be expected, but the realisation I had recently was that hope doesn’t look backwards.
Let me say that again - hope doesn’t look backwards. Hope is not something that we see in the rear view mirror or as we look over our shoulder. Hope is what is ahead for you and me. There’s a great bible verse in 1 Peter 1:3 that puts it this way:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”
Peter reminds us, or maybe explains it for the first time, that the hope that we have been given is not dead, it’s not something that has been used up and discarded, it’s not a hope for last week or last year. Rather it is a living hope, it’s alive, it’s breathing, it is for us today and for the days to come.
That’s why hope doesn’t look backwards, because those things in our past have already happened and we can’t change them. It’s true that we had a hope at that time, but yesterday’s hope is no good for today - for that we have this living hope. That’s why I am choosing to look forward, to believe that the best is yet to come. Maybe you are doing that too?
Because I know that God has a plan for your life and also for mine. Satan can't stop it. Covid can’t stop it. The world can't mess with it. We might be under duress, we might feel like we have been beaten up or that we can’t take another step forward, but that is when we need to look forward in hope.
If you are really struggling right now, let me encourage you. The night might be dark, but the light of dawn is coming. Things might seem scary at the moment, but joy comes in the morning. I know you might feel alone now, like you're not seen. But our living hope reminds us that the sunrise is going to come. That’s why hope doesn’t look backwards.
So don't give up now. Don't lose heart. Keep going, keep believing, keep trusting and stay full of faith and hope. The sun is going to shine again. That's the message that Peter wants to communicate - we are going to have trials but they last just for a little while. In terms of eternity they are but a small blip on the radar of time.
That’s why hope doesn’t look backwards. Rather, hope looks forward to the promises of God being fulfilled. It looks forward to a new year full of expectation and excitement. With hope we can look forward to trails and challenges because they make us stronger in our faith. Our living hope in Jesus reminds us that we have been saved, and we are guaranteed of eternal victory.