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  • Writer's pictureCharlie Barclay

Hope Is A Good Thing

"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies." -Andy Dufresne, Shawshank Redemption

Hope can be hard to find, sometimes.

War. Violence. Hate. Poverty. Famine. Disaster. Sadness. Depression. Loneliness. These things are everywhere. It is easy to fall into the trap of seeing the world through these lenses of brokenness, pain, and hopelessness.

The quote from Shawshank is even more powerful when you realize that Andy is writing these words to Red. Red is still in prison and told Andy earlier in the movie that, "Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane. It's got no use on the inside. You better get used to that idea."

Red was saying what many feel about the state of our world. It's hopeless.

This weekend, Christians around the world will gather to celebrate Easter. Celebrating that hope was discovered in an empty grave. Hope that the grave isn't the end of the story. Hope that brokenness, hate, and even death can be overcome!

The early followers of Jesus had given up on hope. They had hoped Jesus had come to rescue them from wicked leaders, both of their own people and of foreign leaders who wanted to see their ruin. When Jesus was arrested, tried, beaten, crucified, and buried, their hope died with Him. They mourned the death of a friend and leader. They mourned the loss of the hope and dream that He had come to rescue them. They hid themselves away in fear, not knowing if their association with Jesus would prove to be dangerous for them, as well.

Early on Sunday morning, His followers discovered He wasn't there. They were filled with shock, fear, wonder, and, finally, joy!

This reminds me of a scene from Tolkien's Return of the King.

There is a great battle for the great Ring of Power. Samwise Gamgee is injured and thinks he is going to die. One of the last things he remembers is Gandalf sacrificing himself,

falling into an abyss and dying. While Sam lies recovering from his injuries, he is awoken by a familiar voice.


"Gandalf! I thought you were dead. But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue? What happened to the world?"
"A great Shadow has departed," said Gandalf, and then he laughed, and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land; and as he listened, the thought came to Sam that he had not hear laughter, the pure sound of merriment, for days upon days without count." -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

Sam, who thought he was going to die, didn't. He opens his eyes to see Gandalf who died and isn't dead anymore! This overwhelming sense of joy from being alive, and seeing that his friend is too, causes him to ask, "Is everything sad going to come untrue? What's happened to the world?" It's all so much to take in.

Easter weekend is a reminder that "everything sad is going to come untrue!" There is coming a day when there will be no more tears, sickness, pain, brokenness, and death! Jesus has overcome all these things!

Jesus invites you and me to know Him and experience the joy and hope that His story-changing, life-giving, hope-offering death and resurrection offer.

In response to Sam's question, Gandalf explains that a great Shadow has departed from Middle Earth and then laughed. Sam realized it had been quite some time since he had heard laughter. There had been no reason for laughter. They had been living in a world without hope.

A sacrifice and resurrection changed that!

The same is true for us!


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