For a high school project, years ago, we were assigned to portray our interpretation of how heaven and hell will look like. I remember creating my heaven as a lush forest, filled with life, moist ferns, and moss; a place of beautiful mystery. There was one student who portrayed hell like a desert, and I found that particularly interesting. Although I have never been to a desert, when I think of them I think of dryness, loneliness, desperation, but I also think of illusions or mirages. To illustrate, I often hear and even speak elusive “hope” phrases like, “I hope it doesn’t rain today, or I hope I get this job, or pass this test”. “Hope” in our day-to-day speech is not the same “hope” we find in the bible. In the Holy Scriptures, we see a living and a guaranteed hope, not some elusive, wishful thinking, but promises we can actually know for sure they will come to pass. 1 Peter 1 verses 3-6, reads, “ 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, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” When I read those verses, I do not hear a wishful thinking tone, I hear a confident, assured hope; a hope that can make one sleep like a baby at night. I think of our anxiety driven society today, and I think part of the reason for it is because we are not setting our hope in the Lord, the only one that can give us security in this life filled with uncertainties. Rather we are setting our hope in mirages like, imperfect people, our bank accounts, our degrees, our jobs, what we eat, our hope in ourselves and our efforts. No wonder why we are so anxious…all those things vanish like the wind and are not eternal. I recently watched The Mummy (1999) with my brother and there is a small scene where the character Ardeth Bay, says in Arabic after contemplating killing Rick O’Connor, and he says “no, the desert will kill him”. I think a life without the hope found in YHWH, like the desert, is a very frightening place to be. The enemy knows if there is no eternal hope, there is no pleasant future. Satan will, without hesitation, try to distract us from the hope that is found in Christ and instead create empty hopes that seem so desirable to chase, for us to only come to find out they were simply deceptive promises. It reminds me of the quote from Dantes Inferno of what the souls will read when they enter hell, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”.
My beloved, even in our darkest and driest days, where we just want to give up and our souls of souls sighs saying “what’s the point, anyway”; when we feel we are sinking in a pool of quick sand, look to the Lord, for He will show you the light of His living hope. Friends, the hope that God is offering is not a figment of our imagination for our weary and thirsty souls. It will not leave us empty or disappointed, on the contrary, it will leave us fulfilled, it will give us the ability to stay joyful even in the middle of a desert storm. I believe this is where how we love appears like a sun’s horizon above the sand dunes. If God is our ultimate source of hope, we can love the way God has intended us to love. We can love graciously and humbly, not expecting anything in return from others, we can love without having fear of getting hurt or disappointed, we can love unselfishly, absent of any arrogance…but without hope and not looking to YHWH as the rain for our souls, love will just be a parched desert in our heart, “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:14
What mirages are we chasing and putting our hope in? If we do not know, will we ask God to reveal any mirages in our lives? My prayer for myself and for you is that we look to God in faith as the source of our hope, the living water and hope for our heart, so that we can love like He loves. My prayer for those who have not received the Lord into their heart, and has not put their faith in Yeshua’s death and resurrection, is to receive this very truth today, because one day it will be too late. “And now these three remain, faith, hope and love” 1 Corinthians 13:13
Below is the song that has inspired me to write this post: