Turn the page and find real hope

Ben Bufkin

I remember Easter service 2020 like it was yesterday. I walked up to the stage and stood behind the pulpit like I would do every other Sunday. The main difference this time was that it wasn’t Easter Sunday, it was the day before. We were in the early stages of the pandemic of 2020, and we were pre-recording our Easter service the day before on Saturday morning.

The Rev. Ben Bufkin is the pastor of Living Word Church in Schriever.

I stood on the stage and I looked ahead of me at the camera that was recording my Easter message. The building was almost completely empty. Except for sound and media technicians, I preached to an empty building on Easter Sunday. What a sight. What normally is the most attended service of the year for churches around the world, our building was empty.

In some ways it feels like it was yesterday, and in some ways it feels like it was a lifetime ago. Such is most of our experiences with the year 2020.

As I am preparing my Easter message this week, I have one primary feeling that is influencing my thoughts. It’s the feeling of hope for the future. I know that this is not everyone’s common experience. There are many people right now who are feeling quite hopeless.

Will we experience a fourth surge of the virus? Will the vaccine allow us to return to normal life? Will mask wearing be with us forever? Will the economy recover? Will my loved one return to health?

These are just a few of the questions that could be filling the minds of many people right now.

The truth is, I don’t have a clear answer to any of those questions. No one does. The truth is, real hope is not contingent on having answers to any of those questions.

This reality is the reality of our human experience living in a broken world. The year 2020 put on display the brokenness of humanity in a way that many of us have never experienced before.

As a result, people are looking for hope. People are longing for hope. The greatest problem in our search for hope in this life is believing that hope can be found from earthly realities.

As great as technology is. As smart as biologist and scientist are. Technology fails. Our ingenuity is limited. Our scientific and medical breakthroughs are only temporary solutions to permanent problems.

There is another life-altering circumstance awaiting us around the corner. We just don’t know the time and place it will happen.

I believe it’s time to turn the page. It’s time to turn the page in our earthly story of life lived in a broken world. We need to turn the page from looking for hope in all the wrong places. We need to turn the page from looking to replace our fears of the future with temporary promises that come from men who don’t keep their promises.

When will we learn the lesson that there is absolutely nothing in this life that can bring ultimate peace and hope for the future?

It’s time to turn the page this Easter season and find the only hope that will never end.

Hope that will never end has a name. His name is Jesus. He is the resurrected savior. He is the king of the universe that offers to everyone who will listen, a hope and a peace that is not rooted in temporary earthly experiences.

It’s time to turn the page this Easter season and be filled with a hope that this pandemic can’t take away. Will you wake up to hope today? Will you stop allowing the never ending talking heads to rob you of the true hope that is found in Christ?

We’re turning the page this Easter season. I’m going to step into the pulpit this Sunday at Living Word Church and I’m going to turn the pages of my Bible and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. The only message that will not disappoint and the only message that can bring hope to the hopeless.

The building won’t be empty this year. It will be filled with people from all walks of life who have experienced the goodness of God in the person of Christ. My prayer is that there will also be people there who have come to the end of themselves and are tired from the exhausting efforts of looking for hope in temporary solutions.

Will you turn the page with me?