For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Romans 8:24-25 (KJV)
It was a hot, humid October afternoon in 1982. Badger Stadium in Wisconsin was packed out. More than 60,000 die-hard Wisconsin football fans were watching their team take on the Michigan State Spartans.
It was obvious who the better team was, Michigan State was mopping up the field with the Wisconsin Badgers. But what was really strange was that as the score continued to move against the Badgers, there were bursts of applause and shouts of joy from the Wisconsin fans. How could they cheer when their team was taking one of the worst beatings ever? It turned out that 70 miles away the Milwaukee Brewers were beating the St. Louis Cardinals in game three of the 1982 World Series. Many of the fans were listening to portable radios and responding to what was going on in another game, in another sport, in another place.
Today, more than ever, for me and you who are Christians first and Americans second, there is something to be said in being "plugged in to what is going on elsewhere". Sometimes the things going on where you are become extremely difficult to hear and see and live in. So Paul writes to us our text in Romans 8:24-25. His desire is to make sure our faith in God affects the perspective in which we view our present circumstances. No matter how difficult or even desperate our current situation seems, Paul says we can face it with hope. Paul's not trying to candy-coat the pains life can hand out to us, but he wants to put them in perspective.
There's another "game" going on that we as believers must be tuned into. Bigger than our struggles, larger than our limited field of view, greater than the World Series - it's the Eternal Series where hope in Christ allows us to cheer because we know that through Him "all things work out to our good" (Romans 8:28) Our hope in Christ is the power we have to live victorious lives while it seemingly looks like the enemy is having his way with us.
Paul explored this thought in his instructions to us in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18: "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
HOPE: Man can live 40 days without food. Man can live 3 days without water. But, a man cannot survive a single minute without HOPE. In the years past, I have conducted the funerals of my mother and my sister, both of whom accepted God's love and grace at the very end of their lives. Beaten by age and cancer, their struggles seemed hopeless - but I have HOPE! I "hear" another arena, another place not far away receiving them into Glory. I can cheer and shout, for our hope is in Christ, who makes all things new.
I want to thank each and every one of you who support Mark Correll Ministries in prayer and financially - God is truly using this ministry to speak hope to a lost world. We are seeing lives changed, healed, rescued, and secured in hope. Keep hoping in Him!!
To you I am eternally thankful.
In Jesus' Service,
Pastor Mark and Sheryl