On Easter Sunday I preached a sermon entitled, “I have a hope.” It was based on 1 Peter, chapter 1, verses 3 and 4. It says, “Praise be to the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade away – being reserved for you IN HEAVEN.” This imperishable, unspoiled, non-diminishing hope we have of life beyond the grave, established and confirmed by Jesus resurrection from the dead, is the greatest motivator in life.

We often struggle with the difficulties we experience in this world, in this decaying flesh, in these imperfect bodies with imperfect minds and emotions. Our human sufferings are given a new context with the reality of our hope of heaven. Paul says in Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Amidst all the trials and sorrows in this life, we can all cling to the living Hope Jesus purchased us for us on the Cross of Calvary.

When John Todd was six, his mother and father both died and he was raised by a kind aunt who loved him as his mother. He was studying for the ministry when she fell ill and from her death bed wrote him a letter asking if there was really something awaiting her beyond the grave. Here is his reply: I, as a boy of six, was left quite alone in the world. You sent me word you would give me a home and be a kind mother to me. I have never forgotten the day I made the long journey to your house. I can still recall my disappointment when, instead of coming for me yourself, you sent your servant, Caesar, to fetch me. I remember my tears and anxiety as, perched high on your horse and clinging tight to Caesar, I rode off to my new home. Night fell before we finished the journey, and I became lonely and afraid. “Do you think she’ll go to bed before we get there?” I asked Caesar. “Oh, no!” he said reassuringly. “She’ll stay up for you. When we get out o’ these here woods, you’ll see her candle shinin’ in the window.” Presently, we did ride out into the clearing, and there, sure enough, was your candle. I remember you were waiting at the door, that you put your arms close about me—a scared and bewildered little boy. You had a fire burning on the hearth, a hot supper waiting on the stove. After supper you took me to my new room, heard me say my prayers, and then sat beside me till I fell asleep. Someday soon God will send for you, and take you to a new home. Don’t fear the summons, the strange journey, or the messenger of death. God can be trusted to do as much for you as you were kind enough to do for me so many years ago. At the end of the road you will find love and a welcome awaiting, and you will be safe in God’s care.