Where do we receive our hope?
Maybe it is just a coincidence that just a few days ago people were buying Powerball jackpot tickets at the rate of 131,000 every minute up until an hour before the deadline last Wednesday. That evening, the Powerball jackpot stood at $550 million. It was the largest jackpot in the multi-state lottery’s history. Many of us put our hope in the odds of becoming a millionaire. Now, statistically speaking, the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 175 million. A person is more likely to become President of the United States than win the jackpot. According to one source, you are three times more likely to die from a falling coconut, seven times more likely to die from fireworks, 25 times more likely to win an Academy Award, and way more likely to die from flesh-eating bacteria (115 fatalities a year) than you are to win the Powerball lottery.
I have never bought a lottery ticket, but I have often put my hope in relationships and activities that turned out to be disappointing and unsatisfying.
In the first verse of 1Timothy, Paul calls Jesus Christ our “hope.” The salutation of his letter begins, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope.” The word “hope” means something very different from wishful thinking or playing the odds because this hope connotes absolute certainty.
For your prayer time today, I invite you to try a prayer practice that I found in the Spiritual Formation Bible. At the top of a sheet of paper write the words “Because of Jesus.” Below them list all the “absolute certainties” you can count on because of Jesus Christ. What can you expect in this life? What certainties do you trust in for eternity? After you have spent time creating your list, say a prayer of gratitude to God for this time of hope and anticipation. Give thanks to God for the certainty of the coming Christ, our life, our light and our true hope.
Nancy Pauls – Pastor of Prayer