I’ve had cause to go through the Hindhead tunnel rather a lot recently and have been reminded of this simple metaphor of hope – when we experience hope in a dark situation we say there is light at the end of the tunnel.
As human beings we need hope, especially when we are going through difficult times. Jürgen Moltmann, a contemporary theologian said: “Totally without hope one cannot live. To live without hope is to cease to live. Hell is hopelessness. It is no accident that above the entrance to Dante’s hell is the inscription: ‘Leave behind all hope, you who enter here.’ ”
As Christians we have hope. Indeed, there is no other ideology, political theory or religion that offers hope in the same way as Jesus Christ and His resurrection – hope for ourselves as individuals, but also hope for the whole of creation.
In my current situation, I have come to value the hope offered by my faith in Christ more than ever before. Hope for healing and for the fulfilment of God’s promises and plans for me in this life, as well as the sure hope of eternal life thereafter. However, I have been even more struck again by the hope that there is for all the things that are wrong with this world to be put right. In Revelation 21:3-5 we hear the Lord pronounce in that moment when His kingdom comes in its fullness “LOOK ! GOD’S DWELLING-PLACE IS NOW AMONG THE PEOPLE, AND HE WILL DWELL WITH THEM. THEY WILL BE HIS PEOPLE AND GOD HIMSELF WILL BE WITH THEM AND BE THEIR GOD. HE WILL WIPE EVERY TEAR FROM THEIR EYES. THERE WILL BE NO MORE DEATH OR MOURNING OR CRYING OR PAIN FOR THE OLD ORDER HAS PASSED AWAY … I AM MAKING EVERYTHING NEW.” (Loud voice from the throne)
The Lord promises to make everything new. A putting right of all the injustices in the world, the healing of hatred between nations, an end to man’s inhumanity to man, and no more disease or death to contend with. This is the hope of the Kingdom of God. It’s a hope we all share and it spurs us on to endure what we need to endure. It’s the hope that took Jesus to the cross. “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of God.”
When we drive through a tunnel we instinctively look for the first sign of reflected sunlight on the walls as we seek to emerge into daylight. Just so, as we go through our own “dark tunnels” we look to Christ and His work in our lives and the world, and we see the signs of His coming Kingdom. So we know there is light at the end of the tunnel, there is hope, and what a hope it is!
Mark Wickenden, Minister