A good friend and well-known Christian theologian visited our work in Asia. He came to one of the leprosy colonies, filled with people who are in horrible pain and suffering. They are so alone, rejected by everyone, without any hope of relief. Then, he was invited to share something to those who had gathered, share a word of prayer. He told us he stood there, numb, not knowing what to say.
Let me ask you—faced with a congregation who is familiar with every kind of suffering, what would you have shared? What could possibly be said? Speak of health, wealth, and the possibility of a great life by faith?
Standing in that desolate place, this Bible teacher opened his mouth and spoke of the Resurrection, our great enduring hope. For with Christ’s Resurrection comes the assurance that all in Christ shall be made alive, and bearing the image of Christ (1 Cor 15:22,49).
No One is Exempted
Suicide rates reveal that even the affluent, prestigious, famous, and highly educated ultimately give up on life. What do we make of that? As successful as their lives may appear, on the inside they are crippled by comparison, rejection, abuse, greed, loneliness, helplessness, despair. More money is not the elixir we’re led to believe.
One absolute reality for all humanity—whether rich or poor, sick or healthy, in the center of the public eye or on the fringe of society—is death. All will die, and you are dying now, and so am I.
Friend, the whole world is in crisis. The non-stop weeping of bereaved mothers, loved ones with a death-sentence diagnosis, the violence, and persecution. Where is the answer? Where do we turn for hope?
A cheap gospel of prosperity and positive-thinking is not the answer; it just doesn’t cut it.
Hope That Supersedes Suffering
The faith given to us by the Holy Church asserts, in this world we will have trouble, but take heart, Christ has overcome the world. The healing balm they offer to us is a suffering-with-hope. The hope is the journey to restoration, the original creation as God intended, and that hope is the answer to the suffering we have to endure.
Christ’s Resurrection is our hope—and that hope far exceeds any momentary circumstance. Christ and His resurrection are the only hope for healing and life. Through our faith in Him, we can overcome death as He rose from the dead. This hope is not mere respite in the here-and-now, but it goes beyond that and is the guarantee of eternal triumph, glory, rest. As Paul told us, “If in Christ we have hope for this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor 15:19). His Resurrection is hope for us today and forever.
Because Christ rose from the dead, resurrection for us is guaranteed. He is why we have hope. So in the end, we can look into the face of death and shout, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:33)
Our Guiding Hope
This hope, of course, is not free license to set our spiritual journey on cruise-control. Instead, we ought to be all the more invigorated in our commitment to Him. Think: Olympians train in their sport for maybe 16 hour days to cross the finish line; every decision from food to social engagements is made in light of its impact on reaching that finish line. So, too, we see the Apostle Paul living with undivided dedication as he looks forward to the crown awaiting Him—the very crown that awaits us all, those who would live for Him.
As we celebrate this Resurrection Sunday and head into all the weeks that follow, I urge you my friend, keep Christ’s resurrection at the forefront of your life. Death cannot kill you. Together, we can “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
K.P. Yohannan (Metropolitan Yohan), founder and director of GFA World (Gospel for Asia) and Metropolitan of Believers Eastern Church (BEC), has written more than 250 books, including Revolution in World Missions, an international bestseller with more than 4 million copies in print. He and his wife, Gisela, have two grown children, Daniel and Sarah, who both serve the Lord with their families.
Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is a leading faith-based global mission agency in Wills Point, Texas, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Africa and Asia, and sharing the love of God. In a typical year, this includes thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching to provide hope and encouragement in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. GFA World has launched programs in Africa, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit the Press Room at https://gfanews.org/news.