With today being Independence Day it can be very easy to get caught up in how “great” our country is. With all the national pride, and fireworks. All over Facebook and Twitter you see the glorification of ‘Merica. People wear their red, white and blue. Parties everywhere have birthday cakes for the U.S.A., and of course a good American meal consisting of barbecue, baked beans, and cole slaw! But, can anything that America offers really give you hope or peace? No, it can’t.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love America. A love for this country is ingrained in who I am. The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps are all represented in my family. My Father worked in U.S. Capitol building, and one of my uncles worked in the Pentagon. My two favorite sports are baseball and NASCAR (neither of which was I blessed with any sort of talent). The fact that I consider NASCAR a sport may make me more of a true American than most of you reading this.* But, as much as I love where I live, I do not rest my hope in America by any means. Real hope can only be found in the glory of Christ.
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Hope that does not put us to shame! I don’t know about you, but that statement is extremely comforting to me. As a Carolina Gamecock fan I had a significant amount of hope put to shame about a week and a half ago by Arizona in the National Championship. I know many people who have placed their hope in the American economy, and then we had a recession. But, what Paul is speaking of hear is a hope that will never fail, one that will never be put to shame!
This hope that Paul speaks of is found in “the glory of God”. This is referring to the glory of Christ that will be revealed in the second coming of the Messiah. It is a hope that “does not put us to shame”. This means that it is going to happen, without fail. How do we know that it won’t fail us? “Because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit”. And we know that God’s love never fails because of what is said in Lamentations 3:22a, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases”.
So, in conclusion, be proud that you are American. But, do not place your hope of a better tomorrow in America. Rather, place your hope in things above, fix your eyes on the Lord. The glory of Christ will never fail you, and his love will endure forever. As a result my we declare as the psalmist in Psalm 43:5b, “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
*If you don’t know me personally, I take NASCAR very seriously.