Keith Wishum: Cars break down. Lives do, too.
Gary enjoyed whipping his 1962 Maserati through mountain curves on his way to Denver. He was living it up. But when the engine died, things looked grim. The car was too old and too rare for merchants to keep parts for it in stock. One clerk’s response summed up the outlook, “Mas-a-what?”
At the end of the Yellow Pages auto parts listings was Victor’s Garage. “Vic,” Gary said over the phone, “you’re my last hope. Do you carry any parts for a ’62 Maserati?”
When Victor, after a long pause said, “Yes,” Gary’s hopes soared.
But Victor continued, “I have oil for it.”
For one brief moment, there was hope. For one brief moment, everything looked brighter. The car was still dead, but there was a chance to revive it. For just an instant there was hope. And hope changes everything.
Without hope, life is, uh, well — hopeless. There is no sense in trying if there is no chance of succeeding. The student who believes he will fail has no energy for studying. The spouse who thinks the vows are irretrievably broken will not bother with counseling. And the person who feels trapped in his current situation, who feels that his hurtful habits define who he is, will never make an attempt to break free. Without hope, the future is dark and the present is dim.
Sadly, for too many people, life is a broken-down Maserati in a city with no spare parts. It was pretty and fun when it was new and running smoothly, but eventually it dies and can’t be repaired.
Jesus of Nazareth offers hope. Not just a wish. This is no genie in a bottle, not a lottery ticket with a one-in-a-million chance of paying off. Real hope is a reasonable expectation. Jesus offers hope because he offers a reasonable expectation of repairing our broken-down-Maserati lives. It’s reasonable because of his own resurrection, witnessed, and testified to by rational men who found their hope in that truth.
As one of them put it, “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-5).
A living hope. His name is Jesus. He stocks the parts you need. He offers the hope you crave.
Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church, Americus.