I’m just a few pages away from finishing the book Game Change. The book is about the 2008 Presidential election. It’s the first purely political book I’ve bought in a long time, maybe ever. The book is decidedly Pro-Obama and an Hillary.
It’s been a fun read. The book showed me many things I didn’t previously know and yet those things reinforced for me some things that I had been thinking all along.
This post has nothing to do with Politics or the book. I just wanted to give you the background.
It occurred to me throughout the book that many people cast their vote not based on ideology. That is to say, many of the people throughout the book talked about why they cast their fate with a particular candidate. Time and time again it came back to one word. Not the plan (with some of the candidate’s the plans were very very similar). I mean obviously the Republicans were going to vote with the Republicans and Democrats with Democrats, but ultimately it came down to something intangible.
That something is called hope.
It struck me as I read this sweeping book about the sport of politics that hope is the one thing that the church has in spades. I mean think about it! We have hope that God is and will make all things new. He’s reconciled all things to Himself.
God gives us the promise of Hope. In fact one of the most misquoted verses in the whole Bible is because often the person doing the quoting leaves off the most important phrase. You know the verse. It says
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you
Now, I’ve heard this verse used to defend people who are literal 6 dayers and why they fight for it. I’ve heard heretic hunters use it. Of course they never actually get to the next part of the verse. It says
to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
Give an account for the hope you have in you. What is that hope? Christ died for you for me to bring us to God. I wonder if the reason we’re so rarely asked about our hope is because we don’t actually act like people with hope.
The fact that passage goes on to talk about how our gentleness and respect (actions) are our actual defense and not our finely tuned theological statements is just a bonus. Not our megaphones, or our witty blog lines. Not our book deals, or our denominations. Not how many years we’ve been in “professional ministry.” Not our cred’s. Our action.
Did you ever wonder why he had to put the whole gentleness and respect in right after talking about hope. I think it’s because hope is offensive and scary to many people. In fact just today I talked to a guy who said, “Let me tell you something, hope is an f-ing scary thing. It may be the worst thing ever. A man can go crazy with hope.” I’m going to withhold the rest of the conversation because the words would cause too many you to focus on them instead of the post. (Maybe me too?)
May you be someone who is filled with hope. May you be someone who people ask about the hope found in you. When pastor’s betray you, and friends abandon you. When Christians give more kindness to drug addicts than to you and you’re worse nightmare comes true may you be able to see and hold onto the hope found in you.
When you are at the end and are convinced you can’t go another step, may you be filled with the Hope that only God can give. May God grant you the clarity to see the Hope He offers.
May you always remember that God died for you.