“This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: that one thing happens to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion” (Ecclesiastes 9:3-4).
Helen Keller, who at age 19 months contracted an illness which left her both deaf and blind, once stated, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence”. Like, Solomon in the opening verses above, she stresses the importance that hope plays in our lives.
In the book of Ecclesiastes Solomon has been searching out the meaning of life (Ecclesiastes 1:13). As he does so, he notes much of what occupies man’s life on this earth, such as building great works, seeking pleasures, and accumulating wealth, is vanity (Ecclesiastes 2:4-11). This is because all are going to face death and cannot take these things with them (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20). However, the knowledge we are going to eventually face death is not all bad. It causes us to consider our purpose for living (Ecclesiastes 7:1-4). Furthermore, as the opening verses above indicate, as long as we have air in our lungs and a beat in our hearts, we can live in hope with regard to our futures.
A sick person can hope to get well. A person stricken with poverty can hope to gain enough wealth to get out of debt and enjoy some prosperity. A lonely person can hope to one day find the right mate for life. However, the greatest hope we have is the hope of enjoying eternity with God in heaven in a place where there is “no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying” (Revelation 21:3). While we are still alive on this earth, we have every opportunity to get our lives right with God through His Son Jesus Christ so that this hope may be realized (John 3:16; Mark 16:15-16).
The importance hope plays in the life of the child of God cannot be overemphasized. We don’t hope for the things of just this life. The apostle Paul wrote, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Corinthians 15:19). The Christian’s hope goes far beyond the grave as he or she looks forward to God raising their dead body from the grave at the 2nd Coming of Christ. The Christian’s hope in God is what motivates them to live differently than the rest of the world: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13). A child of God’s hope and faith are strongly tied together: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
Today, as I consider these words of Solomon I reflect upon the importance hope plays in my life. Praise God that He has given me the opportunity to enjoy salvation and to have a hope not only during my days on this earth, but a hope which goes far beyond the grave. I will strive to cling to this hope which is the anchor of my soul!
“Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil” (Hebrews 6:17-19).