Hope, a Confident Assurance
She passed a few hours ago.
After her daughter notified us, Don and I went over to say our final goodbye to our neighbor and friend, Sue (name changed for privacy).
Sue was a gifted woman. She taught zookeepers in various parts of the world–Singapore, Paris, others — how to care for and provide a healthy environment for their animals.
She fought glioblastoma for about two years, but declined significantly in the past two months. I loved going over to give her a hug and kiss and tell her I loved her, just a quick visit here and there. Despite the challenges she faced, despite the waning of her body, it is hard to say goodbye.
Her daughter said Sue’s passing was peaceful.
Awhile back, in the context of our conversation, I asked our friend why she was opposed to God. Sue had a negative experience in the church of her youth, and said “I think my heart left God when I was nine years old.” The church told her there were sins God couldn’t/wouldn’t forgive.
Over these two years we’ve had several brief conversations about God’s love, and his forgiveness which is available to all.
Look at the Bible.
- Moses was shy and afraid to confront Pharoah.
- David was an adulterer and a murderer.
- Saul murdered Christians.
- Peter denied Jesus.
And yet, all were forgiven, changed by, and became leaders of the faith.
Two weeks ago I asked Sue if she wanted to be sure of her salvation and God’s promise of eternal life. She said “yes.”
Because of her brain tumor, I wasn’t sure how much she grasped, but her prayer was sincere.
And this morning Pastor Tim gave me a new insight.
In our world, “hope” is based on something we’re unsure about. “I hope the 49’ers will win” (but I don’t know if they will–although today they did!).
In contrast, in scripture hope does not imply uncertainty or lack of assurance. Instead, biblical hope is a confident expectation and desire for something good in the future.
For more on hope, go to the Billy Graham library at: https://billygrahamlibrary.org/blog-5-things-the-bible-says-about hope/#:~:text=And%20hope%20does%20not%20put%20us%20to%20shame%2C%20because%20God%E2%80%99s%20love%20has%20been%20poured%20out%20into%20our%20hearts%20through%20the%20Holy%20Spirit%2C%20who%20has%20been%20given%20to%20us.%E2%80%9D%20Romans%205%3A5
The great chapter on love, I Corinthians 13, says “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (v. 13). When we reach eternity, we won’t need faith or hope.
- We won’t need faith any longer because we will experience the reality we’ve hoped for.
- We also won’t need hope, because our hope will be fulfilled.
- But love will continue forever.
So, in confident expectation that Sue became God’s child, I look forward to seeing her again in eternity with Jesus. Farewell for now, dear friend.