A special man of God from my past used to say with that wonderful, warm smile, “The best is always yet to come!”* Hope is one of the hallmarks of the Christian faith, along with faith and love. Hope in the Christian sense is simply looking forward to God’s fulfillment of his promises in Jesus for us and for the world. And while it is in terms of resurrection and new creation, the beginning of this hope and fulfillment is known even now, in this life. But only fully in the life to come.
Better times are ahead in this life in terms of growth in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It could well be a hard road, marked with suffering. Something we know little of where we live, but others know it all too well.
God’s will is good, pleasing and perfect, not just to God, but to us as well. We live in the present, but that involves a desire to find improvements in big or small ways, and to see changes in terms of love, justice, mercy and righteousness, in terms of shalom. And God includes us together in that hope in his good will in Jesus, along with the world.
This hope is certainly prominent in the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one,
for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
*I remembered after publishing this, that Pastor Bill would say, “For the child of God, the best is always yet to come!” But I believe leaving the quote as is is both in keeping with the point made in the post, and in keeping with what Pastor Bill believed and taught.