As you can tell, I really like steamed crabs. All anyone has to do is say, “Want to have steamed crabs?” and I’m there! You don’t have to ask me twice. You don’t have to remind me. You don’t have to text me. Just the words “steamed crabs” get my full and undivided attention.
Goosebumps grow all over me just thinking about steamed crabs. When the day arrives for steamed crabs, I get up early because I’m all pumped up to sit down and chow down. And when I arrive, I’m almost vibrating with anticipation.
And then I eat steamed crabs. I enjoy steamed crabs. I relish steamed crabs. If it were possible, I’d roll in the steamed crabs. I don’t care what I look like, I don’t care what I smell like. It doesn’t matter if some of the spices are on my face, or pieces of crab are in my hair. I am all-consumed with consuming steamed crabs.
But then something happens.
Eating steamed crabs ends, and it begins to disappear. Slowly at first, but then more and more until it’s gone. The sweet, full feeling from so many steamed crabs begins to vanish. The spicy-salty taste and smell begins to fade. What was once a brilliant and unescapable experience starts to fade out like the sunset. Try as hard as you can, the steamed crab memory will shrivel and eventually die.
Hope is like that too. We can have a great hopeful experience. Be filled with hope because someone gave us an encouraging, hope-filled reminder. And it’s great – for a while. Then that hope, as fantastic as it was, starts to get dimmer and dimmer. Eventually, fading away.
That’s why we need to replenish hope. We need a constant diet of hope. We need reminders of hope. And as good as they are, they will all fade away.
That’s why we need think about ultimate hope. A hope that will not fade. A hope that will not fail. A hope that will not fluctuate.
I’ve looked high and low for such a hope. I looked for it in power, possessions, position. I thought that if I was smart enough, funny enough, successful enough, rich enough, that it would be enough. But it wasn’t enough. Just like the experience of steamed crabs’ fades, so do all these things.
When I came to the end of my rope, someone told me that all the things that I’d been chasing after were only a shadow of life and hope. But full and real hope, the ultimate hope, was in a person. And that person is Jesus. If you doubt my words, listen to what Jesus said about himself.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
That certainly is a bold claim. That promise for a full life is right there for us. But it requires us to give ourselves to him. And since we can only go after one thing at a time, this means that we must abandon trying to fill our lives on our own.
And unlike eating steamed crabs, that relationship with Jesus doesn’t end. He’s with us each and every day. He stays close by, never fading, never failing, never far away. He starts right where we are and goes from there. He’s with us each and every moment, surrounding us, living in us. He never runs away, he never abandons, he’s never unreachable.
May you look for and find your ultimate hope in him.