When I was a young man of 17, I had a lot of questions. Why do I exist? What is the purpose of my life? What happens when I die? I wondered as I experimented with drugs and partied with friends.
The year was 1970. I remember hanging out on the streets of Newport Beach, California, at a time when our nation was in chaos. The “hippie,” anti-Vietnam War, Civil Rights and Jesus movements were radically changing culture and people were searching for answers to life’s biggest questions — like I was.
A lot of religious literature was being handed out in those days. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Krishnas and Christians approached me, offering answers to my questions. Over time, I amassed a respectable collection of tracts that told me how to find peace and explained the meaning of life and eternity.
Although I acted like I didn’t care about the contents of the tracts, I kept all of them in what I called my “God drawer.” Every once in a while, I would empty the contents of the drawer onto my bed and try to make sense of it all.
That same year, The Beatles released their hit album, “Let It Be.” I felt like the song, “The Long and Winding Road,” was the anthem of my life:
Many times I've been alone//And many times I've cried//Anyway you'll never know//The many ways I've tried//And still they lead me back//To the long winding road//You left me standing here//A long long time ago//Don't leave me waiting here//Lead me to your door.
More than anything else, I needed hope. A famous cardiologist wrote in his autobiography, "Hope is the medicine I use more than any other – hope can cure nearly anything."
But hope can be elusive in this world we are living in.
We are in a presidential race and people are rallying around their candidate and party platform that they are passionate about. Politics have their place of course, and every American ought to register and vote, but our leaders alone will not bring us the answers and the hope we so desperately need as a nation and individuals.
You will not find the hope and purpose you are looking for in technology either. It’s always a thrill to get the newest version of the newest gadget but we quickly adapt to it and look elsewhere for our next endorphin hit.
I remember when Steve Jobs revealed the first generation of the iPhone. It was such a game-changer compared to the tech of the day, so unexpected, some even dubbed it the “Jesus phone.”
Now, those phones and have so taken over our lives many of us wish we could turn back the clock and return to a world without them.
But I want to encourage you and tell you that there is hope in this world in which we live, but it’s not something you hold in your hand or in a person you cast your vote for.
Hope has a name, and it’s Jesus.
The past several months have been painful for millions of people, and perhaps for you personally. A global pandemic, economic collapse and social unrest and violence have upended our lives and caused immense suffering.
It honestly feels like we are living in a movie, and that’s what life is like: we all have a beginning, middle and end with plot twists aplenty. Is our story a tragedy? A romance? A comedy? And what role do we play? Who’s directing the movie, anyway?
All of our “movies” are different, but I would guess that most of us desire a happy ending — that somehow, good will triumph over all. But oftentimes, it looks like good is losing, and our hope wanes.
So, we seek hope. We turn to technology, romantic relationships, food, work, entertainment, friends, politicians, philosophers, preachers and pundits. While those people and things certainly have their place in our lives, they can’t sustain us, because they weren’t designed to — at some point, they all fail.
Do you find yourself without hope for your life and for your future?
If so, then I encourage you to watch, “A Rush Of Hope” this Labor Day weekend. In this new film, I ask the same heart questions I had as a confused teenager. And I explain where I finally found hope.
You can find it, too.
Greg Laurie is the pastor and founder of the Harvest churches in California and Hawaii and of Harvest Crusades. He is an evangelist, best-selling author and movie producer. His new book World Changers: How God Uses Ordinary People to Do Extraordinary Things (Baker Books), releases Sept. 1.