A couple nights ago, I re-watched the movie, Invincible, about Vince Papale who played for the Philadelphia Eagles. He played for three seasons after being the only person invited to training camp when Dick Vermeil held open tryouts in the 70s. What I found incredibly disheartening about the movie is how it depicted all these sad and depressed people who saw the Eagles as their only hope to keep them going during hard times. Vince Papale’s father Frank, said this line during the film:
“You know how I used to tell you about Van Buren scoring that touchdown back in ’48? … That touchdown got me through thirty years at that factory … ”.
To me, this movie is a poignant reminder of how many lost people there are in this world, who go to the wrong station to try to fill up their “tank” with hope. People worship professional sports teams and athletes more than God; the amount of time they devote to each makes this glaringly obvious. Television, movies, parties on the weekends or happy hour is the only thing many people look forward to after a hard day’s work. The empty promise of fortune and fame, or the approximate one in 175,000,000 chance of winning the lottery, becomes the “hope-pump” so many use to “fill their tank”. Often they realize too late that it is empty–nothing but fumes. The truth is that Christ is the only one with the authority to set us free, and He is the only one we should ever place our hope in.
The world might be full of many challenges, trials and hardships right now, but the worst thing we experience in this life will not even come close to what happens when God pours out His wrath on the earth at the end of the age. Are you confident in your salvation? If we think the horrible things of this world are bad, we must remember that the worst things in the world today pale in comparison to God’s final judgement.
And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. When he comes on that day, he will receive glory from his holy people—praise from all who believe. And this includes you, for you believed what we told you about him.
So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ. – 2 Thessalonians 1:7-12
The Lord Jesus Christ is, “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,” (Ephesians 3:20). He can fill us with hope that will persevere though any obstacle, one that can strengthen us in the darkest times, but we must put our hope in Him and Him alone. There’s no need to live a sad life of desperation. We must either let the desire for the gain of God’s promises move us into a state of submission to Christ, or let the fear of judgement and God’s outpouring of wrath scare us into it. A.W. Tozer said:
“The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.”
Make your thoughts of God worthy and you will not be disappointed. If your “hope-tank” seems to be running on fumes ask yourself this: Do I have religion or do I have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ?