As a young and wealthy Yale graduate, William Borden had everything lined up for a successful life – even enjoying several weeks of European tourism as a graduation gift. The world was before him, his life ahead of him, and the determination and drive he would need for future success showed even in his college years. He was going places.
In 1912, he set sail for Egypt, intending to study Arabic before traveling on to serve among Chinese Muslims as a missionary. Borden shocked many with this decision to leave behind riches and ease and likely success, declaring with his life that God’s calling is greater than any success in this world. With big plans, a heart set on following God, and a love for lost people, Borden set out on the adventure of his life.
He would never arrive in China.
Three Reasons to Hope
There may be few times we’re as hopeful as we are when we turn the calendar to a blank and empty year. We daydream of all the possibilities represented in those empty squares—both for our own lives and for national and international concerns. Then, like snow that stays too long and merges with the dirt and grime of our daily commute, our expectations for something new under the sun fizzle out fast.
But one thing that makes us Christians different is that we have hope. Always. Not in political parties or presidential promises or international policies, not in goals or resolutions or self-betterment strategies.
But one thing that makes us Christians different is that we have hope. Always. Not in political parties or presidential promises or international policies, not in goals or resolutions or self-betterment strategies. Click To Tweet
This hope is stronger than all that.
As Christians, we base our lives and our eternal souls on the God who has existed infinitely longer than any of our governments or news cycles or bad habits or personal problems. Here are three reasons we can have hope strong enough to pull us through any challenge we face.
God never changes.
Everything around us is always changing or always has the potential to change: the seasons, the people we see every day, our jobs, even ourselves. In all of this change, we can build our lives on the solid foundation that the God who put this planet into orbit is the same today, and that He cannot be any more or less perfect than He already is. He does not change. The God of the Scriptures is the God alive and well and active today, working in and through us like He has always worked in His creation.
“‘God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?’” (Numbers 23:19).
God always wins.
Nothing can ever change or thwart or stop what God has planned since before time began. Whatever hardship or setback we face, whatever unexpected problem comes up, whatever impossibly tangled and complicated situation that just isn’t getting any closer to resolution, our God is never surprised or overwhelmed or at a loss for ideas. He’s got this. All of it. As hard as it may be, He is in charge and will accomplish exactly what He knows is best.
“‘Remember this and stand firm … for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,”
calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it’” (Isaiah 46:8-11).
Jesus loves me, this I know.
Piggybacking on the last truth is this one: in all of His plans and guidance, God remembers us. Never will we ever be loved greater than He loves us. He knows what we need, He knows what we feel, He knows what we want, and He will always provide us with His best. It may not be what we wanted, but it will always be His best.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32).
Each of these truths hold us up when tragedies and disappointments threaten our lives and friendships and plans. Even when a new missionary, full of potential, contracts spinal meningitis, far away from his family and his intended mission field.
William Borden had big plans – good plans – to serve God in a humble and forgotten area of the world. All of his advantages he “counted as loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8), and he left behind all kinds of comforts to prove that belief with his life.
William Borden died on April 9th, 1913, at the age of twenty-five, in Cairo.
An Explanation for Such a Hope
It may seem off-topic to bring up a downer of a story like this when thinking about hope.
But that’s just it.
Even in William Borden’s story, there is hope. There is in ours, too.
Borden’s tombstone in the American Cemetery in Cairo reads, in part, “Apart from faith in Christ, there is no explanation for such a life.”1
It might seem foolish to pour all that wealth and intelligence and potential into mission work among a small people group around the world. It might seem like a wasted life when the hopeful missionary never met even one of the people he was preparing to serve.
When Jesus Christ breathed His last during a Roman execution, God took the greatest tragedy the world had ever witnessed and brought the greatest treasure out of it. Through Jesus’ sacrificial death and victorious resurrection, all who believe in Him have a hope that transcends disappointment and success, life and death – and they will never know real defeat.
Through this gift, we have assurance that our work, our obedience, our lives are never wasted. No corrupt or misguided or dishonest political situation, no false promises, no inability on our part to carry out our own plans, will ever take away our hope. In whatever comes, we are promised God’s faithful presence, His constant love, and ultimate victory.
What more could we hope for?