“Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
In a godless world, this would be true. In a godless world, there would truly be no purpose for life. If you lived and then died, upon your death nothing else would matter and so your life would have made no lasting difference.
If you were never born, it still wouldn’t matter because there was no real purpose for your existence to affect. Certainly the godless world can invent a purpose, say to affect the future; but for what reason? When you really think about it even that wouldn’t matter since at some point the universe would cease to exist anyway.
In a godless world, hope is an evil that interferes with a life form’s feeble attempt at gratification during its fleeting existence. But the reality is that we do not live in a godless world. And so hope is good!
Paul writes, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18-19a NIV).
When Paul prayed for enlightenment, he prayed that their hearts might be affected by a greater understanding of reality. He prayed that light might be shed in their lives so that they would more clearly see what is real rather than just presumed. This is what it means to be enlightened—to better understand reality. However, shining a light into our lives can be scary. There are some things we’d rather keep hidden.
Many shy away from reality in hopes that if they just don’t see it, it won’t be real. It’s like a parent who refuses to admit that their child needs professional help, or the patient who doesn’t want to hear the results of a test, or even saying that an unborn baby is not a form of life. Enlightenment, by itself, is threatening to us.
We don’t want to see the unborn baby, we don’t want to look into the faces of the homeless, or we don’t want to hear about other people’s problems. Without God, enlightenment can be more discouraging than ignorance. Without God, we may feel powerless in difficult circumstances and resort to methods that only make things worse or further destroy life.
But Paul said that he prayed for enlightenment so that, in spite of all these scary things, we can realize—rationally—that there is a real hope; and that hope has a great power. God cannot be hidden and He exists in spite of our jaded opinions. And when we are open to accepting truth, regardless of what it reveals, we will find that God is there and His word is, and always has been true. When His light is shined upon the world, then we will see all the warts and blemishes of life, but we will also see God already working to sanctify creation. And that light will spark a great hope in those who accept the truth.
Paul prayed for the enlightenment of hearts so that all could know the hope that God has called them into. This is a hope for a genuine purpose, and a hope that we can face all of the real problems of life because God is with us.
It is a hope that you have a meaningful and eternal purpose. A hope that every life is of great value. A hope that empowers the individual to face anything that life throws at us with a passionate love for God and all of His creation.
Paul’s prayer is for enlightenment that leads to hope; a hope that will make us powerfully human. I pray that God would enlighten the hearts of everyone on this planet so that genuine hope would empower us to care and truly shine His virtue back into all of creation.
To find out more about La Vista Church, or to hear this and other messages, visit our website at www.lavistanaz.org or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Pastor Raul on Twitter @RaulGranillo007. Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet Sundays at 9 a.m. for Sunday school and 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!