hope and HOPE

I hope that things will get better for me and my family, that we’ll have everything we need and much of what we want….but my HOPE is much more firm than what results from full stomachs, comforting possessions, or our socio-economic standing.  We could lose all that and still possess HOPE.
I hope that the terrors of COVID-19 are behind us, and that no one in my relational sphere will somehow contract the disease and die….but my HOPE is not the result of everyone I know being ok.  HOPE is bigger than that.
I hope that the protests happening everywhere for racial equality will be taken to heart by those in authority, to make real changes in America’s justice and enforcement systems…but my HOPE doesn’t have its footings in the soil of any worldly nation, even my own.
I hope that the world we live in and raise children in will become more civilized and loving and Godly as time goes by…but my HOPE doesn’t depend upon the uncertain future, or the empty utopian promises of mankind.
There are two hopes….hope and HOPE:  
  • hope is preferential, HOPE is providential.
  • hope is what people would like to see happen, HOPE is what God is doing in spite of what we see.
  • hope is like wishing on a falling star for our dreams to come true, HOPE results from trusting in the solid bedrock of God’s goodness and His plans.
Like many others, I often struggle with hope.  I gave my life to Jesus when I was 16 and have been following Him ever since….very imperfectly.  My hope has faltered greatly at different times of my life, and this current season has definitely been one of them.  I’ve lost my sense of hope several times since mid-March, but I keep coming back to the HOPE that is alive and well right beside me, around me, underneath and carrying me in spite of myself.  
I am hoping for a lot of things right now.  Many of my hopes arise out of desire for what is good, and frustration against disease and evil.  But there is a greater and deeper HOPE that is consistently available to pour comfort and peace and trust into my soul whenever I open its floodgates.  The HOPE that only God can bring is available even when this crazy world seems to be pulling apart at the seams….and nothing in the world can touch it.  
If you, like me, have struggled to maintain hope during this time; you won’t find it by looking around you or inside of you.  Real, life-giving HOPE is found only by looking above you. Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”  If you would like learn more about how to tap into the LIVING HOPE offered freely to you by Jesus, please email me at [email protected] and I’ll help you find how to drink.
Here are some of the scriptures I’ve been meditating on lately, which bring me back to the HOPE I have in Jesus, I hope they help you as well:

”Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! 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. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:3-9)

 ”We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this HOPE we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we HOPE for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:22-25) 

”Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the HOPE of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, HOPE. And HOPE does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:1-8)

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no HOPE.  For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.  According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)