I hope the weather will change soon. I hope I can get a job. I hope I don’t have cancer. I hope I can muddle through these last years of life. I hope, I hope, I hope.
I go to a church named Hope. Since we joined there, we’ve seen a few friends pass away. We’ve seen people go through grief, depression, hopelessness, yet we have seen those emotions be overcome through prayer and caring. We’ve seen growth in numbers, we’ve experienced joy, sadness, worry sometimes fears, disagreements, but we all remain committed to hope. In fact we always close our service by reciting the Bible verse, Isaiah 40:31
“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
So where does our hope come from? If we look at our world today, it would seem that there isn’t much hope. There’s a negative vibe floating around, trying to convince us that we’re being manipulated – that we’re intolerant – misogynistic – and whatever the flavor of the day happens to be. There is very little focus on the Creator of the Universe. We started as a fledgling nation, with one common goal – to look forward rather than back – to place our hope and dependence in the One who has our lives already planned out.
Somehow, we as Christians seem to be outnumbered. We may feel we’re being persecuted by other religious groups, by radical thinking, by those with no regard to life, by the naysayers who believe the American dream is dead. We may believe we’re in the minority, but are we?
The church is a place where we can renew our strength, through the study of God’s Word. It’s a place where we can share our burdens with one another – where we can rely on emotional support when we’re hurting – where we can become a part of the body of Christ.
The word HOPE is defined by Webster – to cherish a desire with anticipation : to want something to happen or be true. An archaic definition is to trust.
In a way our hope stems from faith in the only One we can trust. Maybe we should revive that archaic definition once more.
When we become hopeless, it leads to depression, which leads to lack of confidence, thoughts of suicide and worse. Hopelessness should not be part of our vocabulary, when we depend on God to lead us. There are way too many – young and old and in between – who feel the pain of hopelessness.
As citizens of this country, we must remain hopeful that our leaders are doing the right thing. That the swamp will be drained and the good will remain. We still have a voice, through our voting and our constant attention to what’s going on in our country. When we see something that isn’t right, we need to contact our representatives. We can complain all we want about the injustices, the slander, the scandal, the corruption, but if we simply complain there is no solution to the problem.
Abraham Lincoln, a most unpopular president when he was in office, rose above it and is today honored for his wisdom and common sense. He had this to say about hope:
“My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.”
Emily Dickenson had this to say about hope,
“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.”
Here’s what God says about hope in Romans 15:4
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
My prayer is that hope never dies. The only way to rekindle the fire is to come back to God and trust in His divine intervention. He is our only hope.