Living It Out! - Life-Giving Hope
Hope: /hōp/ A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
Hope begins early in childhood when we hope we get the latest and greatest toy or trip to Disney World. Maybe we hope that classmate wants to be friends with us, or we hope for a good grade on an exam. We might hope for a car when we turn sixteen or to go to that larger-than-life concert.
For a long time, my hope was for my birth father to choose to be a part of my life. As a child, I often wondered about him and very much desired that I would become his attention. As years went by and feelings remained unspoken- ugly bitterness set in, closely trailed by anger. A wound cut so deep, it left a gaping hole in my heart and belief that there was no hope for repair.
“Why did he not choose me?”
I made up and believed enough unrefuted lies trying to answer that question, which allowed the thief of joy to take a foot hold on my life, and disaster followed. I ruined relationships, placed unattainable expectations on others, participated in risky behavior and lived in a constant state of fight or flight mode. I did these things to inflict pain first, in order to protect myself from inflicted pain.
After all these years there is no restored father-daughter relationship. However, the longing continued to remain. Thankfully, my focus has begun to change. Instead of focusing on the hurt, anger and bitterness, it has shifted to the only One who will ever truly satisfy. Jesus is the only One who remains steadfast in His promises. He is the only One capable of providing authentic hope that gives life in the face of suffering.
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]. John 10:10 (AMP)
To know this kind of hope though, we must recognize that we are broken because of the sinful nature we are born with. There is nothing we can do to heal ourselves. Because of sin, we are separated from the Heavenly Father who is without sin. There is no skill, no good deed, no amount of wealth or influence we have that can mend what is destroyed.
God knew from the very beginning of time we would be afflicted with this sin problem. Instead of leaving us in our sin though, our loving Father provided an everlasting hope through Jesus Christ. His life, death and resurrection paid the penalty we deserve and broke the chains of our sin. If we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead, then we will be saved. (Romans 10:9) When we accept this gift from God then we will have a hope that gives life – life abundantly.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Romans 15:5-7 (NIV)
Have you accepted this gift of salvation? If not, I pray you would consider the good news, seek out and talk to a trusted believer today.
Although not all our hopes will be fulfilled as we believe they should, we can still choose an attitude of joy. If we gaze at the God who gives full assurance of life-giving hope, we remember we are empowered to choose joy despite our current circumstances.
There will be a time when believers will no longer have to hope for belonging, for an illness to be healed, an addiction overcome, a financial burden met, a friendship mended, or for grieving to turn to joy. There will be a time when the wounds we carry are forever healed. While we await His return though, believers are called to mirror the good news of Jesus Christ by sharing this life-giving hope with others.
Here are some ways to live out life-giving hope:
Join a community of believers as an active participant (Hebrews 10:19-25)
Remember God’s faithfulness daily (John 15:9-11)
Share the gospel with ourselves and others frequently (Colossians 2:6-7)
Intentional Prayer (Philippians 4:6)
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (ESV)