Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason
for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15, NKJV).
Hopeless. Can there be a more depressing word? When our situation is truly hopeless, why go on living? Hopelessness is the most common reason that suicide is contemplated, attempted, or achieved. What point is there to life if we have no hope?
I’ve been reading the prophets again lately, as I do so often, and I see two primary themes stretching throughout. First, God’s judgment on unrepentant sin. Though God called out time and again to His people, begging them to repent of their sin and return to Him, they ignored Him and continued on their own way. The results were disastrous. But the second theme is the hope of restoration. Despite the people’s willful and ongoing rejection of God, the faithful Father promised that restoration would follow judgment. Even in the most dire circumstances, there was still hope because God was greater than the circumstances!
Isn’t that what a world steeped in sin and mired in rejection of God needs to hear? Yes, judgment is coming…but restoration is the final result. And those of us who have already received God’s forgiveness must ALWAYS be ready to explain that fact to anyone who asks. If people living in hopeless situations see hope as the hallmark of our lives, they are going to be drawn to us—and sooner or later, they’re going to ask about the Source of our hope. What a privilege to be able to answer their questions! Will they respond by receiving that forgiveness and hope for themselves? Some will; many won’t. Some will even persecute us for it. But what is that to us? People’s reaction to the reason for our hope does not change the surety of that hope because our hope is not based on the stock market or the headlines or the election results. It is based on the One who cannot lie and whose promises never fail.
May we walk in such a way that our hope is obvious to all who see us—and may be ALWAYS be ready to offer an explanation (“give a defense”) of that glorious hope that is in us!