S56P11 – Ecclesiastical truths: hope for the living

Ecc. 9:4

Anyone who is among the living has hope —even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!

There are many things in life that come to an end with an expected period of winding down.  When he was finishing college, the last half of his last semester was a time to look forward to the next chapter.  He went through the same process as he was preparing for retirement.  In both scenarios, he had checked out weeks before actually finishing.  He knew he was on his way out, and that was a guarantee.  Now he was nearing the end of his life, and he began to have the same attitude.  Having been given only a few months to live, he simply threw in the towel.  He gave up hope for anything good during the remainder of his time here, and he gave up hope for anything great to come beyond this life.  He was still alive, but he already had checked out.  No one told him that there is always hope while we are living.

While it may seem discouraging, we must recognize that there are many people who are nowhere near the end of life yet have given up all hope.  Experience after experience has worn on their optimism, and they will not expect things to get better.  Regardless of age, and regardless of how many years they have left, they might feel as if life already is over.  Circumstances and experiences have become their reality.  Hope for anything outside of what they see in their history is too unreal to consider.  They have decided to simply ride out whatever time is left because there is nothing greater to pursue.  It is a great deception that serves to stop us in our tracks and keep us apart from God, because it is not possible to serve him if we do not recognize the value of our time here.  In order to please God, we must realize that this life is worth something.

The hope we have while we are alive covers many bases.  It is the hope that God has planned good things for us here.  It is the hope that his promise of an abundant life is available and attainable.  It is the hope that He has prepared an eternal place for us beyond this life.  The hope that is reserved for the living is comprised of everything that diffuses and disarms the power of death in our lives now.  It is death that brings us hopelessness on a platter and tries to convince us to take a bite.  It is hope that shows us we need not bow to death but can walk forever in life beginning even now.  Father, increase our hope while we are alive, that we would believe in your mercy and faithfulness in making every day fruitful and valuable, even to the last moment.