Last week, I wrote about peace. Peace can come from having hope; a belief things will turn out the way God desires for His perfect will, despite evidence to the contrary.
To hope is to desire with expectation of obtaining that which you desire: it is to expect with confidence or to have faith that your desired outcome will be achieved. That is probably why Proverbs 13 tells us that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
When you embrace hope, you must also be willing to trust in that which you believe will deliver your desired outcome; this is the beginning of faith. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1. Hope believes in the assurance given by the One whom you trust to deliver that which is best.
When I went to Joplin, Missouri in 2011 to help with disaster relief after an EF-5 tornado leveled a large portion of that town, I saw hope in a whole new light. The residents seemed more like victors than victims. Although they had gone through a terrible ordeal, they praised God for their deliverance; they prayed for strength and immediately began the work of recovery as soon as the storm had passed. They had hope. The students at Joplin High School illustrated this spirit in a stunning way. The school was completely destroyed and several students were killed on campus. The fronts of a few buildings remained as well as the school sign with only the O and P of “Joplin” remaining above the words “High School”. Students found some duct tape and fashioned the letters “H” and “E” on opposite sides of the “O” and “P” forming the words “Hope High School”. With nothing surrounding them but destruction and uncertainty, they trusted and believed and had hope.
Sometimes we get unexpected answers to prayers. Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph. I’m sure she hoped to have children after they were married. Things worked out quite in the reverse. When the Archangel Gabriel visited Mary and gave her the news about the child she was to give birth to, she was greatly troubled and questioned the messenger. But assured of the truth of the message, no matter how socially disastrous, Mary placed her hope in the Lord said “Let it be to me as you have said”.
The leaders of Israel had been waiting for a king to deliver them from their enemies. They were disappointed to find the one being described as the long awaited Messiah was just a baby. They misunderstood God’s gift to mankind. Hope had come into the world. Hope for the sick, the broken, the hurting, and the lost; hope that could never be taken from us. “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 8:38-39. This is the hope that comes at Christmas. I hope we can all understand and embrace this perfect gift of immutable hope.
© 2013 Curt Savage Media