We Hope {From Good to Grace}

By Kathy Ferguson Litton

we hope
“The goodness gospel is a friend as long as life is neat and tidy …” – 
Christine Hoover, Good to Grace: Letting Go of the Goodness Gospel

My life suddenly was NOT neat and tidy when I was widowed thirteen years ago.

My favorite line from my favorite song is “You offer hope when our hearts have hopelessly lost our way.” (Wonderful Merciful Savior). Even though I was a mature believer I felt I had … “hopelessly lost my way.”

And I had to return to the only source of true hope – Jesus.

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast …” (Hebrews 6:19)

Christine Hoover debunks one of the biggest lies ever perpetuated that somehow our goodness will earn us a free pass from suffering, difficulty or disappointment. Jesus himself tried to wrench this lie out of the hands out of the religious leaders of his day in his teaching to his followers:

“Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” (John 9: 1-3)

Not only did His lesson include the idea that our goodness will NOT ward off suffering, Jesus also teaches that His power will be revealed IN brokenness and difficulty.

“He taught that the world is broken and that no one will escape the fruits of this brokenness, not even he himself, the Son of God. Then he suffered and died so that, like the blind man healed, all brokenness could be redeemed and we could have true and enduring hope.”

 “Perhaps it is in brokenness, when all of our false hopes fall away under the weight of grief that we discover that God is strong enough to handle it all. He is able to hold our grief, to accept our questions and to reach into places that no one else can touch to bind up our wounds. He is not scared by brokenness; he is revealed in it.”

Like many of you, I have fallen under the weight of grief. Christine shares a deeply personal story of her son’s autism diagnosis. A scene many mothers know very well. We could list hundreds of scenarios where we have lost hope or wondered if God would ever be revealed in disappointing circumstances.

“The goodness gospel is a friend as long as life is neat and tidy …” Christine asks, “What happens when spouses disappoint, children become prodigals, friendships fall apart, beauty doesn’t age well, jobs are mundane, or health fails? If these are our hopes, they will eventually shatter.”

What is the sign that our hope is false? It shatters. Because we have asked something to prop us up that is temporary or unreliable or merely human.

Only the gospel of grace that includes a resurrection from the dead will give REAL hope in any circumstances.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)

“We have hope because we are now citizens of Christ’s kingdom, a kingdom we wait for but cannot fully yet see and experience … unlike our earthly and temporary hopes in THIS citizenship is a hope that will never disappoint or shatter.”

This is hope:

  • That our sins are not counted against us because the perfection of Christ covers them.
  • That no matter what we face we will not be separated from God.
  • That our trials are temporary.
  • That we can endure suffering because we know God is good and gracious. And He is IN us supplying strength we do not have on our own.

Not only do we receive this hope for our sin problem. We receive this hope for our darkest hours on the sin cursed planet.

“Coming back to the person of Christ to gaze on his goodness and receive his perspective, his grace for our daily sufficiency, and his life in us.”

“Over and over. Day by day. Receive and respond. Hope on repeat.”

 “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast …” (Hebrews 6:19)

Have any of your hopes shattered lately? What have you learned about hope through the “untidy” journey?

From Good to Grace coverThis concludes our summer reading series from Christine Hoover’s book  “From Good to Grace: Letting Go of the Goodness Gospel”. (Catch all the posts on From Good To Grace here). If you still have not read this book I highly encourage you to pick up a copy (available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christianbook.com, or iTunes). Such a rich book. A very timely read especially for those in the church culture who might struggle between the goodness gospel and gospel of grace.

Published July 30, 2015

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Kathy Ferguson Litton

Kathy lives in Mobile, Alabama, with her husband Ed, pastor of Redemption Church. Both lost former spouses in car accidents, and God uniquely gave them new love and life together in 2009. Kathy enjoyed 26 years of life and ministry alongside Rick Ferguson. She has three children and ten grandchildren. Presently she serves as Director of Planting Spouse Development.