“Their only consolation was that hope made them happy for a while” (Jennifer Worth, The Midwife).
When I overheard this statement it drew me into a moment of contemplation. And the more I thought about it the more hopeless the statement made me feel. Hope placed in personal kingdoms, efforts, material and earthly things, and in self is limited. This hope lasts for only a little while; it’s not really hope at all. But I know real hope, and I have found it in Jesus. This hope is not the mere consolation of momentary happiness.
Jesus prayed concerning His impending death, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39b, ESV). Though He knew He would suffer, Jesus willingly embraced the cross. His immeasurable act of love towards us gave hope then and continues to give hope now. Because of His sacrifice we have the opportunity for relationship with Him, and, as a friend of mine put it, “Hope that flows from relationship with Him is eternal.”
In response to a comment I made concerning Jesus’ prayer about bearing the cross, my friend stated, “When I first read what Jesus prayed for I was moved to tears and awe. How could He just accept what was coming knowing full well what it would entail? He did it in love for all of us and for the Father. It made me fall in love with Jesus...”
“Joy is not felt less exquisitely because the moment flies, and if we can taste it, we know that we are blessed” (Jennifer Worth, The Midwife).
This last statement followed the first statement I overheard. What Jesus did was not a moment that passed by and then was soon forgotten. Jesus lived, suffered, died, was buried, and then He resurrected. The purpose of His suffering and death would have been incomplete without His life before and His resurrection after. But He always completes the story. He continues to complete it even today.
What Jesus did goes beyond the time and place of it's occurrence. In His moments of self-sacrifice He offered eternal hope for all—hope that spans from before the beginning of humanity's existence until the after end. And through relationship with Jesus we taste exquisite joy in this hope. In this real eternal hope we realize we are blessed.