According to a recent news report, in the decade since September 11, 2001, the number of terrorist attacks each year around the world has more than quadrupled. That's thousands of innocent lives lost through senseless acts of violence. Consequently, many of us find ourselves living in a constant state of low-grade paranoia, halfway holding our breath as we turn on the morning news.
With every flashback of the collapsing towers, every shaky video of machine gun toting rebels, every image of all-too still children, our hearts are jolted, and our own mortality stares us in the eyes, daring us to blink. And the result is fear.
It's been said that the only thing stronger than fear is hope. Hope that things may not be as bad as they look. Hope that there is Someone bigger, stronger, more loving than the author of our fear. The key for us is in knowing where to find that hope. And, of course, our all-gracious, all-loving, Author of hope God has made that search crystal clear. I like the way the apostle Peter put it...
A hope that is alive... A gift that can never be destroyed. Encouraging? Yes. But I'm also thankful that God doesn't gloss over our all-too-human fear of the inevitable- our fear of dying. In the book of Hebrews, we find that He went to the greatest lengths imaginable to break us free from the power of Heath.
Jesus came to break the power of death and deliver us from the fear of dying. By doing so, He reminds us that His power is the strongest of all. There's an old hymn that says, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness... On Christ the Solid Rock I stand... all other ground is sinking sand." Jesus is that "Solid Rock." Jesus is our "Hope" in death.
A few years ago there was a note found on the body of a dead soldier. It beautifully revealed how this one who faced death so readily held tightly to a life-sustaining hope. He wrote:
My hope is built on nothing less... than Jesus. ALL other ground is sinking sand. The ground of vivid fear. The ground of perpetual paranoia. The ground of an uncertain future. ALL other ground is powerless... because of Him. Which leads me to an obvious question. Do you know Him? Do you have the peace and hope that only Jesus can give? It's not as hard as you may think. Open your life to Him. Receive His peace. Find rest in Hope.