[Originally published in the Monroe News on November 6, 2020]
“Hope is like the sun, if you only believe in it when you can see it, you’ll never make it through the night.” This is a quote from Princess Leia. If you don’t know who she is, don’t go looking through your geography textbooks to find out for which country she is royalty, you won’t find it. This is Princess Leia from the Star Wars saga. If you haven’t seen the movies or read any of the books, or you just dislike them, forgive me.
I love the quote though. “Hope is like the sun…” I think hope is a worthy topic for us to be talking about as human beings any day of the week. It is something we struggle with. It is something our stories and our histories are full of. It is almost certainly something we yearn for. When we face tough times we especially like to shift our focus to things which give us hope. When in darkness, we want to see that light at the end of the tunnel.
Princess Leia spoke of hope because she was the leader of a rebellion against the Galactic Empire. She was leading a cause against all the odds to bring freedom to people she never met. Her fight was built on the idea of hope. How did her character come to such a bold resolve to continue onward in her goal despite all the odds? Its really quite a story. Did you know she witnessed her home planet being completely destroyed by the so-called “Death Star”. She had to endure her son being lost to the evils of the dark side and turn into the menacing villain Kylo Ren. She learned that her own father was the greatest villain of them all, Darth Vader. Despite all of these despair-inducing revelations in her life she led people forward in hope. She never gave up the fight.
This sort of hope seems to be one that believes good will come despite all evidence to the contrary. It can help us through dark times to have this hope ahead of us to cling to. It would seem we too need something like this. Don’t we need hope today? We hear dire predictions of the effects of climate change. We witness endless division in politics and mass media. We have sickness and death all around us in the midst of this pandemic. Not to mention many other problems facing our world, too numerous to count. Yes, we need hope, or better yet, something to hope in.
Here’s where I really want to give you the good news. Unlike Princess Leia who led people with hope in a good that seemed beyond all odds, a good that wasn’t guaranteed but they would fight for all the same, we have something to hope in that does promise us a happy ending and a guarantee of victory. We have a hope in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This sort of hope isn’t a “blind faith” or a hope without any reason. It is a hope in the promises of God who keeps His promises and reminds us of that every time we see the rainbow in the sky. It is a hope in God’s promise that the death of Jesus Christ provides salvation from our sins, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ provides us victory over death itself. We have a hope that Jesus Christ will return to this very earth someday to bring all the faithful to be with Him in paradise. We have a hope that even the dead will be raised in the resurrection when Jesus returns. That death and evil and the Devil himself will be defeated permanently. Yes, we have something to hope in.
Hope in Jesus Christ is not a matter of “if” His promises will be kept, it is only a matter of “when”. This hope in Jesus Christ takes us to another level where not even Princess Leia could lead. Where her hope always had an element of uncertainty, hope in Christ is as sure and certain as something can be. As surely as Jesus rose from the dead is as surely as He can and will raise you and me from the grave someday. Hope in Christ carries us through the greatest of darkness and always keeps before us the light of Christ and the paradise of heaven we await with Him.
You may or may not resonate with Princess Leia’s story or the whole Star Wars galaxy. That’s okay. They do give us a great spark of hope to talk about when it comes to good triumphing over evil. In Jesus Christ we can all share a common hope together. A hope for all nations, tribes, and languages, a hope for all people, a hope that is certain.
To God be the glory.
Mark Witte is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org