First Person: Hope Always

“As for me, I will always have hope.” (Psalm 71:14a)

IMB President Dr. Paul Chitwood (center) and his daughter, Cai, share a conversation about their faith with a man they met on a trip to Africa. IMB Photo

Hope. Merely reading the word can stir our emotions, inspire positive thoughts and lift our spirit. Hope is what keeps us going, causes us to press forward even in the face of hardship or despair, and prevents us from giving up on ourselves or others regardless of past disappointments or current circumstances. Hope is life-giving and life-sustaining. Human flourishing requires hope.

When coupled with the word “eternal,” the two-word phrase grabs our attention and captures our imagination.

Eternal hope.

Eternal hope is the greatest need of every human being. The absence of hope in this life is both sad and concerning; the absence of eternal hope is tragic and defeating. While many have managed to cling to a temporal life void of hope, no soul survives without eternal hope. As the Psalmist recognized, it’s one thing to have hope but incomparably more to “always have hope.” He declares, “For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you” (Psalm 71:5-6, NIV).

Words like “always” and “ever” are not void of eternal meaning in Scripture. Like the word “hope,” they aren’t cheap words nor words that come cheaply to us. Eternal hope comes to us at great cost, not to us, but to the One the Scriptures refer to as “the hope of glory” (Col 1:27). Jesus secured eternal hope for us on the cross and as He took that first step from the tomb.

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For those who have trusted in Jesus, His death and resurrection kill hopelessness­ – forever.

But every day, 155,473 people around the world die without this hope. Working together through the International Mission Board, Southern Baptists are taking the eternal hope of the gospel to those who have yet to hear. Your prayers and your financial gifts through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering provide a voice of hope among the nations – eternal hope

As we embark upon a new year, might we do so with all the optimism and joy that eternal hope brings. And might we embrace the mission to which God has called us by sharing the eternal hope of the gospel with those who remain hopeless apart from Christ around the world.