“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4
In this year of rampant hopelessness in our world, my Christmas shopping included a search for a children’s book for my sensitive and compassionate five-year-old granddaughter, Isla. I needed something to bring her hope of one day being with her friends again, hugging her grandparents, and being free from the fear of “that virus.” I was so excited when the book arrived in a smiling Amazon package and even more excited to read of the underlying message of God’s hope in “Little Mole Finds Hope” by Glenys Nellist.
“Little Mole, whatever’s wrong?” asked Mama.
“I just don’t know, Mama,” sniffed Little Mole.
“But I don’t feel good inside. I’m sad.”
“What you need is hope,” Mama said.
“Hope? What is hope? Where do I find it? Little Mole asked.
“Come with me,” Mama said, as she took hold of little Mole’s paw.
“Sometimes, hope is hiding in the darkness. Sometimes it’s hard to see. But it’s always
there. You just have to find it.”
How do we find hope in the dark moments of our stories? I have learned over the past and in the midst of a difficult present to go to the place that brings light to my dark, disappointing, and discouraging moments – God’s living and enduring word. (1Peter 1:23). Looking for hope in God’s Word I find the motivation to endure through difficult times and the encouragement to “set (my) hope fully” on Jesus’ return. Hope is a psychological sense or desire for something and as a believer it is a confident expectation of what will in fact take place.
When we take our desires and trust Jesus with them, we can be assured the outcome will be His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2) The outcome may not look like what you had hoped for, but be assured, in the end it will be glorious! “While we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. . . “(Titus 2:13) We wait in expectation for our promised future as we take hope in what was written and accomplished in the past. “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain and you will do well to pay attention to it as a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:19)
Many years ago, Billy Graham, a famous evangelist said, “Our world today so desperately hungers for hope, yet uncounted people have almost given up. There is despair and hopelessness on every hand. Let us be faithful in proclaiming the hope that is in Jesus.” What was said in the past is so relevant for today. Peter encouraged those who have found the living hope to always be prepared to tell others the reason for that hope. (1 Peter 3:15)
Isla, the sensitive granddaughter I mentioned above, lost her great-grandfather a few years ago and she felt the loss deeply. She would often talk about her Grandpa Bobby’s death and how it made her feel. About a year after his death, she again told me about her grandpa’s death and how much she missed him. I responded by reassuring her that Grandpa Bobby was now completely healed and happy with Jesus. She then asked, “Where is Jesus?” I said, “Jesus is in heaven.” Her response was epic, “Oh, I have been looking for my Jesus!” She found hope that day – the hope of seeing Jesus in heaven and that one day she would also see her grandpa. No matter our darkest moments, as believers we have the hope of a forever future with Jesus, the Light of the world! Make it your goal to live out this hope in your present circumstance and to be prepared to tell someone this Christmas the reason you have hope, even in the midst of a dark 2020.
“Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history, you will find that Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.” C.S. Lewis
My prayer for all of us this Christmas and for the new year is that as we trust God with our story, we will find hope which fills us with joy and peace as we overflow on to others this life-giving hope. “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. (Romans 15:13)
Here’s to Hope!