“H. G.Wells has a story of a man who is left in a room in a house reputed to be haunted. The terror of the story is furnished by the effect on the man’s mind of a row of candles slowly going out one by one. That story is a picture of what has happened and is happening today to a large number of people. One by one the lights in which they have trusted have gone out. And the room is dark.”
So wrote Eric Malte back in 1949. Five years after a terrible war was ended and the tumult of the next decade was about to begin. We experience the same today. There does seem to be a kind of hopelessness that is evidenced strangely enough by the exuberance with which we seem to run around in our lives.
Some people think that mercy work is hopeless. Feeding hungry people is hopeless because they get hungry again is the nihilistic attitude exhibited by many who should know better.
As Malte continues, “Hope in the New Testament is not a shallow optimism concerning tomorrow. It is not looking at the world and life through rose-colored glasses. Hope for the redeemed and for- given heart is really nothing but our faith extended into tomorrow. A Christian writer once said: “Faith is the first, love the greatest, and hope the last thing in a Christian life.” These three always belong together. God always gives us all three of them together and at the same time. As we believe, we love; as we love, we look hopefully to Him who by His resurrection has turned our eyes upward to the gates of heaven, swinging open to receive us pilgrims at the close of life’s little day.
Our regeneration issues in a life of hope, hope of eternal life secured and assured by Jesus Christ, the risen Lord. Our first birth ends in physical death; this new birth, this regenera- tion, issues in life eternal, in a life of hope, thanks to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The words have a special force when we remember that Peter was raised by his Master’s resurrection from the despair and hopelessness that found utterance in his threefold denial to a hope a living hope, that no changes of fortune could ever shake. Our hope is living, not merely because it is active, but because it is divine and eternal, bound up with His eternal life.”