This room is full of hopes: fans hoping for a championship season, all of us hoping for another beautiful summer. Hopes can be more personal, too—a businessman hoping he gets this next contract; a young employee hoping he won't be laid off; someone who's still looking for a job after months of unemployment; a new member hoping this church will work out; a person hoping someone will like them in that special way. For most people, the normal experience is of days crowded with hopes, which are either fulfilled or deferred, with little notice taken of us by most of the things we hope for.
Greater hopes tend to be for more lasting things. We as a nation simply declared our independence from the rule of the United Kingdom—no referendum needed—because of hope for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Larger, deeper hopes control smaller, more immediate ones. According to some, the basic hope of each person is for power. Others say sex. Many others contend that our most basic desire is for money.
But concerns with power and sex and money can fade when life itself is in question. Then the hope that eclipses all others is for health: for a good report from the doctor, for more time. We will go to extraordinary lengths to secure our life or the life of someone we love. We will travel to visit doctors. We will advocate research. We will give time to volunteer. We will lose our own financial security if it's a question of life itself. And when even that hope for a longer life in this world fades, hope for a right relationship with God—our Creator and Judge—overshadows all other hopes. Even when our finances are gone and our health is broken, we are still concerned to hope that ...
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