December 19, 2017

Mommy overheard her lonely, five-year-old son earnestly pray: “Dear Jesus, please bring a baby brother or sister to my house for me to play with and be my friend.”

Word came—a dear friend’s already-grave health condition had suddenly grown worse. Quickly, a message was relayed calling on fellow prayer warriors to lift their brother’s condition to God in prayer.

A friend, a woman of God, was found unresponsive. Her condition warranted artificial life support. Medical tests indicated that her brain had no signs of life. The family was at the crossroads of removing life support. As the church prayed for and with the family, the family gained the strength to trust in God’s promises while they lovingly and confidently entrusted their loved one into the Heavenly Father’s tender care.

All of these life issues have a common denominator: Hope!

As we live every day in a world of life issues, unknowns, and uncertainties—sickness, disease, death, abortion, physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, infertility, homosexuality, biotechnology, suicide, homicide, human trafficking, sale of human body parts, natural disasters (to name just a few)—we may sometimes find ourselves in the depths of despair. We may wonder if there is any hope.

If we, as Christians, sometimes feel that way, how much more grievous for those who do not know the comforts of the Living Hope—Jesus Christ?

What is hope, specifically? What is biblical hope? In my research, I found strength and encouragement in this definition: hope – “a confident expectation and desire for something good in the future.”

Isaiah 43:1-2 (NIV): [T]he Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

As created, redeemed, and called children of God, we have this hope, this confident expectation, in the depths of our souls. As we walk through the swirling waters and the blazing flames of this life, God promises to be with us. (Notice that God does not take us around or over our troubles; He takes us through them.)

1 Peter 1:7 (NIV): 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.

Romans 5:1-4 (NIV): 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 into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

As evidenced by their prayers, the individuals in the previous true stories found hope, confident expectation, in God, our Heavenly Father, as they were passing through the waters and fires of the struggles of life.

Currently, the little boy does have a baby brother or sister on the way! The friend with the grave health condition is slowly, but surely, returning to health. The woman of God is now in the presence of her Heavenly Father.

Where do you find your hope?

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word that assures us of our eternal salvation through the selfless, loving sacrifice of Your only Son, Jesus Christ. As we journey in this life, help us to live with hope, “confident expectation,” that whatever the journey in this life manages to throw at us, our future is secure. Help us to share this Hope for Life to a hopeless people and world! In Jesus Name, Amen.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
No merit of my own I claim
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In ev’ry high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant and blood
Support me in the raging flood;
When ev’ry earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Redeemed to stand before His throne!

Edward Mote, 1797-1874, LSB 575, Text: Public domain