By Bob Zoellner

Hope is one of the driving forces that permeates the life of a Christian. It brings strength and vitality, even in the midst of life’s challenges.

Hope is a powerful motivator, driving us to continue on in the face of adversity.

It has sustained many martyrs throughout the ages. When hope vanishes, depression and anxiety take up residence, life becomes a chore and despair sets in.

Hope needs to be grounded in reality, though. If built on falsehood, it’s just wishful thinking and may bring a momentary feeling of happiness, but will desert us in times of trouble.

Eternity is what drives that hope, and what keeps us mentally strong in the face of adversity. “If,” as the Apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 15, “only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”

Waiting and trusting is hard, but an eternal perspective relinquishes control and emboldens us to persevere through the difficulties that come. We may be battle-weary, but not battle-hardened. We can let go of bitterness, frustration and anger, and learn to forgive.

We can learn to patiently wait for life’s storms to subside. In times of turmoil and chaos, we learn peace. In the midst of uncertainty, we gain clarity.

While learning to wait for closure, we seek the truth.

In the middle of soul-sapping, energy-draining effort, we find rest. And in the center of all that is temporal, we wait for the eternal.

In the Book of Acts, Paul was falsely accused, and spent years in prison because of that. He had many “serious charges against him, which they could not prove.” Did he weary? Did he struggle? Was it difficult? You bet.

But God’s purposes were accomplished through this. And he held on to the promise and hope of Christ.

Learn to live in that hope, the reality of Jesus Christ, who tells us that “…in me you (may) have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33). Darkness only lasts for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

Remember, we are but jars of clay, but that is to reveal God’s glory through us even more (see 2 Corinthians 4:7-12). “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all,” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

So, fix your eyes on Jesus. He is the Rock. He is the Lord. He is eternal.

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