September 27, 2006

Journey of Hope

2006 1527 pg2 capt has been said that you can live weeks without food, days without water, seconds without air, but no time at all without hope. The human heart craves for a hope that transcends human limitations. It longs to know that God is in control and that ultimately He will fulfill His eternal plan for us. Humans want to know there is a way out of the challenges, difficulties, and obstacles that we confront in life. We want to know whether there is something more and better than the pain, suffering, sorrow, and disappointments we experience in this world.
2006 1527 page2When there is hope, our hearts are gladdened and strengthened today, and we can face tomorrow. True hope is found only in God, a God of hope. From the depth of his being, David cried out, “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You” (Ps. 39:7).* Hope that is rooted in God is a hope that will never let us down. As Christians we can “rejoice in hope” (Rom. 5:2). We need not “sorrow as others who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13). We are “called in hope,” “saved in . . . hope,” and exhorted “to lay hold of . . . hope” (Eph. 4:4; Rom. 8:24; Heb. 6:18). The Bible is a book filled with promises of hope. It points us from what is to what will be. It lifts our eyes from the temporal to the eternal. It leads us from what is around us to what is above us.
Seventh-day Adventists are a global people of hope. We believe that the loving God who created us cares for us. We believe that the Christ who came once to die was resurrected, and has ascended to God’s heavenly dwelling, where He is now ministering before the Father for us. We believe that the Christ who dwells in us will soon come to take us home to enjoy His loving presence forever.
We are Adventists. We believe in “the blessed hope” (Titus 2:13), the hope of the soon return of Jesus. To us, this is no make-believe or illusionary dream. It is a reality. Jesus is coming—really, literally, audibly, visibly, dramatically in the skies, to end all evil and triumph gloriously.
We are Adventists. Our hearts beat with eager anticipation. Soon worry, want, and war will be over. Soon suffering, sorrow, and sickness will be no more. Soon disease, disaster, and death will be vanquished. Soon pollution, pestilence, and pain will be defeated. Soon He will come.
As you read these Week of Prayer readings, let your heart rejoice in hope. Each article is saturated with the hope-filled promises of God’s Word. He loves you more than you can imagine. Rejoice in hope. He is concerned about your concerns. Rejoice in hope. He is coming again for you, so read on and rejoice in hope.
Your servant in the blessed hope,
*Bible texts in this article are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Mark Finley is a vice president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Silver Spring, Maryland.

A Word From President Jan Paulsen

2006 1527 pg32 capn my personal study I get the clear impression that the Holy Scripture tends to define human life as being able to act, to move. That is why the Bible emphasizes in a particular way the importance of choosing a proper “way,” or “road,” to travel. There is the way of life and the way of death. We choose the road we will travel on, and that will determine our final destination and the way we live today. Life is indeed a journey. Humans realize almost instinctively that they are not yet where they would like to be, that they are in fact on the way to achieve their plans and dreams. The human race is in a journey of transcendental importance.

2006 1527 page32As Adventists, we are a people on the move, heading toward a particular destination, namely, the return in glory of our ascended Lord and the establishment of His eternal kingdom. We know where we are heading! We, like the Israelites that left Egypt, are in a journey of hope; a journey of hope in a hopeless, fearful, and disoriented world. By that we mean that we travel light because we are anticipating the soon realization of our hope; home is very close. But we also mean that our journey is characterized by hope. Hope is not only what we anticipate but also what enriches our lives while we wait with eager expectation. Our hope has a direct impact on the quality of our lives as we journey toward the realization of that hope. This hope strengthens us when in our journey we have to travel through difficult terrain. Our journey of hope enables us to face the future in full confidence, free from the fear of uncertainty and disorientation that characterizes our world.
We, like the apostolic church, are possessed by a living hope that fills our lives with meaning and joy. Unquestionably, we are involved in a journey of hope. We should understand what that means. This year the readings for the Week of Prayer explore the nature and meaning of our journey of hope. We will achieve that goal by examining the lives of some biblical writers who chose a journey of hope. We will study the journey of Eve, Moses, Rahab, Daniel, Mary, Paul, John, and Jesus, our living hope. From them we will learn about our journey.
Our hope, a gift from God through Jesus, is so important that we should study it, embrace it, pray about it, and preach it. Yes, preach it! Let it be heard from our pulpits, let it be shared with our neighbors that our Savior is coming soon, that our journey is soon to end in the eternal portals of the heavenly Jerusalem.
May the grace of God be with you, my co-travelers, in a journey of hope.