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Hope Has a Name, and It's Not 'Barack'

Carmen LaBerge
Carmen Fowler LaBerge is president of the Presbyterian Lay Committee and host of "The Reconnect with Carmen LaBerge," radio program. |

During an interview with Oprah Winfrey last week, First Lady Michelle Obama unmasked our national political problem.

Oprah asked, "Your husband's administration, everything, was all about hope. Do you think that this administration achieved that?"

Here is the response:

Yes, I do. Because we feel the difference now. Now, we're feeling what not having hope feels like. Hope is necessary. It's a necessary concept. Barack didn't just talk about hope because he thought it was a nice slogan to get votes. He and I and so many believe, that what else do you have if you don't have hope? What do you give your kids if you can't give them hope? Our children respond to crises the way they see us respond. It's like the toddler that bumps his head on the table, and they look up at you to figure out whether it hurts, if you're like, "Oh my god," they're crying. If you're like, "You know what? Babe it's okay," it's okay.

What do we do if we don't have hope? The answer is simple and it's about the source.

The First Lady is right in recognizing hope is essential. But hope is much more than a political concept. In fact, it's not a concept at all. Hope is a person. The problem Mrs. Obama seems to miss is the president is not the embodiment of our hope — nor the person in which we find our hope.

But politicians are tapping into something real: an electorate desperately looking for something or someone in which to hope. Over the years, campaigns have learned hopelessness is a powerful sentiment that, if harnessed, results in votes. Both parties do it — just with different language. It would be disingenuous to deny hope is woven into the very fabric of the Trump campaign slogan to "Make America Great Again."

But hope will not be found, produced nor insured in or through the White House, no matter who happens to be the president.

Hope is a person, but Hope is not the President. Hope has a name, but it isn't Barack or Donald. Hope is found in no one and nothing less than Jesus and His righteousness.

There is only one person who understands the reality of our time, and the time before and the time to come. He sees the beginning and the end. The hope you are looking for has come, and He is a person, and He did not come in political power. He came as a baby in a manger. This is actually what we celebrate at Christmas.

Friends, Jesus Christ is our hope. If you have anchored your life to anyone else, if you are counting on hope and change to come from anyone else, you are going to be a fool most to be pitied.

There's a parable on this subject that describes two builders. One of them builds a life on a firm foundation and the other on shifting sands. They both face the same kinds of trials and challenges in life. The rain falls on both of them equally. The winds pound on both of them with driving force. What happens? The one who built a life on Jesus Christ stands firm. And the other? The other is swept away.

Where is sustaining, enduring, reliable hope to be found? Not on Pennsylvania Avenue. But under a star, in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes, filled with glory.

Praise be to our God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, because in His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. If that sounds like Scripture, it's because it is (1 Peter 1:3). And this hope never puts us to shame (Romans 5:5).

So, to answer the question raised to Oprah by the First Lady, "What do you give your kids if you can't give them hope?" We shall give them Jesus.

Hope is not just a necessary concept, hope is a person. So put your hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, and no matter who's living in the White House you'll have a source of hope that never disappoints.

Carmen Fowler LaBerge is president of the Presbyterian Lay Committee and host of "The Reconnect with Carmen LaBerge," radio program.

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