Have you ever shown up for church looking forward to hearing from your pastor, and then you find out he won’t be preaching...it will be the youth pastor? Just being honest with you here, those aren’t usually my favorite Sundays. A youth pastor is well...very young, with not much life experience. At my age, I like a little grey hair at the pulpit. But, I learned a great lesson this last Sunday. Young is not always “wet behind the ears” when it comes to preaching God’s Truth. Our youth pastor preached a message this last Sunday that far surpasses many messages I have heard from the grey-haired. He preached about our Hope in Jesus, https://www.youtube.com/v/8K9K0wMSfJ0?hd=1, telling us that Hope can be translated “Confident Expectation.” When I looked it up, I found this: elpís (from elpō, "to anticipate, welcome") – properly, expectation of what is sure (certain); hope. (HELPS Word-studies) How do we live in this confidence daily? There is only one way, and that is by knowing how the story ends. But how do we know that? By knowing the Word of God, and the Victory we are called to live in every day when we know Jesus Christ as our Savior.
The other day my son, Jimm, and I were watching an A’s game. It was not going well, so in the 7th inning when it was 5-0, we changed the channel. I get updates on my phone when the score changes. (Yes, I do like baseball.) It wasn’t long, and my phone went off...the score was now 6-5, with the A’s in the lead. WHAT?!! When I told Jimm, we turned to the game, and went back in the recording to see just what had happened so quickly. As we watched each batter come to the plate, we wondered who had gotten a hit to gain so many runs in just half an inning. We watched as batters came up and struck out. But we didn’t “fear.” We had an “expectation of what is sure (certain); hope.” Little by little, the A’s chipped away at the score, getting a base hit, bringing in runners, etc... Each time the pitch count went 3-2, and it looked like the A’s player was going to get out, we didn’t worry, because we knew how the inning ended. We relaxed and laughed in an otherwise tense situation. I said to Jimm, “This is how God sees life. He knows what is going to happen, before it happens.” God knows that even if we’re striking out, and things are looking bleak, Jesus already won the “game” for us. God’s Word says that Jesus is the first of a great harvest who will be raised to eternal life. (1 Cor. 15:20)
I love when, Searching And Noticing the Divine, we see God’s perfect timing at work. We watched the game, and then the youth pastor spoke on Hope being a confident expectation. God gave us such a perfect example of what he was preaching. God’s Word is full of Hope, and this life is full of examples of how God wants us to live in the Hope of Jesus each day. Let’s continue to search for those examples. It’s fun and exciting! Just like watching with confident expectation an A’s come-from-behind victory!
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
Romans 5:3-4 (NLT)