Hope

Hope is a great thing! In fact, Scripture teaches there are three great things. 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Of course, the greatest is love but today I want to focus on hope because it is great too!

Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Daily, as I go about life, I encounter many who seem to have no hope. At times, I walk away wrestling with God in my mind. How do I offer hope to “pretty much” a stranger who just helped carry my groceries to the car? Or the person in the elevator with me at Richland Memorial Hospital who “looked hopeless” with a tear-stained face?

Or the inboxes I have gotten on Facebook, personal and Back 9, of the seemingly hopeless situations people are in? It can be “overwhelming,” even, to watch the recent news and see the prisoners facing their upcoming “beheading” at the hands of extreme evil. Lately…I have had to literally live…dwell….meditate…read…study….Scripture…to have my “HOPE” renewed. I want people to have faith that offers hope. Trusting God’s heart when we don’t see His hand.

The hope and the encouragement I have received surpasses anything….that money can buy or anyone can say to me. Isaiah 40:30-31, “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but 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.”

Our hope is found in Christ and Him alone.

Recently, I cried my eyes out as I read about Kayla Mueller, the 26 year old woman imprisoned and murdered by ISIS. Her words are some of the most powerful I have ever read…….”The thought of your pain(family) is the source of my own, simultaneously the hope of our reunion is the source of my strength.”

This was a portion of her letter to her family. Her whole letter was an extremely powerful testimony of her faith in God. She was definitely in a place where she knew that GOD was all she had and that God was all she needed. I love what she wrote here….”I remember mom always telling me that all in all in the end the only one you really have is God. I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator b/c literally there was no else … + by God + by your prayers I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall. I have been shown in darkness, light + have learned that even in prison, one can be free. I am grateful. I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it.”

My friends, where are we looking for hope today? What is our source? What are we telling our children?

I cannot do a better job of letting you know that God is the source from whom all blessings flow, even in the face of EVIL, IMPRISONMENT AND SHEAR LONELINESS AND TERROR. I have pondered over Kayla’s quote from her mother, “God is all you have in the end.” I wonder what was going on when her mother told her that years ago?

I can remember looking into my own daughter’s face just two years ago when she was faced with her own difficulties, and the unthinkable happened. What I have witnessed first hand is God exploding her growth and relationship with HIM. The pain. The devastation. What satan meant for HARM, God used for good.

We will face hard times. Scripture even tells us there will be persecution for our faith. John 15:19-20, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.”

I don’t know what you will face today. But…what I know…is this…God is our HOPE. He is the SOURCE. He wants to be our ALL IN ALL. Even in the most horrific circumstances, WE can be FREE in Christ. Look to HIM to be YOUR EVERYTHING.

Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

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