Vol. 8-13 – 03-26-2023 – What About Hope?
Is Hope Gone?
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! –Psalm 27:13
The week before our Baccalaureate Service, one of my classmates was hit broadside (he was on his motorcycle). He died just days later. He had a scholarship to play basketball at The Ohio State University. His twin brother had died prior to his high school years.
His family lived next door. His mom and dad gave up on any hope, and they themselves wished to die. Loss of hope saps the life of meaning. Emily Dickinson wrote:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops—at all
Emily Dickinson, 1891
Many lose hope—actually they lose what they define as hope. My friend’s parents lost hope. Their hope would have been defined as their wishes. In a few short years, my friend’s mom and dad were gone.
I did not learn what real hope was until several years passed. I was married. I was attending a college where I had majored in the French language, “wishing” to teach. I switched majors to Sociology/Psychology. My Sociology professor said that people cannot live long without hope. He was right but he could not truly define what real hope was.
I came to Christ after my marriage to a most wonderful young lady, now my wife of 60 years. I was hopeful of marrying her. When I asked, she told me if I was going to talk like that I could go home. I went home and cried over the loss of my hope. There is a further story. Two weeks later she said yes; my hope (wish) was restored.
When I received Christ as my Savior, I began to understand what hope is. It is linked to our trust in God. Like Jeremiah, when he spoke to God, he said our hope is in You (Jeremiah 14:22). The word hope is often translated to trust elsewhere.
The psalmist expresses that he would have lost heart (NIV), a much clearer translation. Unless he had believed and trusted in the Lord.
Hope for Others
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. –Proverbs 31:8-9
Not every one that lacks hope knows where they need to go for that hope. It is the reason God crosses our paths with people. There are no accidents with who we meet. Too often, we walk around them, and they continue to be lost, without hope. Sometimes they come directly to us.
I was in my office, in my first church. I heard the door open; got up to see who had come in. It was not unusual for folks to stop by for food. This was a lady. It was my habit to not be alone with a person of the opposite sex, so after some talk in the small hallway, I asked her if she would like to sit and talk. With her affirmation, sat with her in our small worship area.
She told me that she had just been to a funeral. A friend had lost a young child. As she left the funeral home, she walked past a school and then came upon our church. In tears, she told me her story.
She saw children playing at the school. They were young, but she was clenched in her heart, for the children playing were ages of what her aborted babies would have been. She was highly emotional.
I had the privilege of leading her to Christ. Then she asked: “Is there really any hope for me?” I asked her if she believed what God said in His Word that we just read. She said yes. Then, she said, “what about my babies?” I asked her if she believed that if God could save her, could she also believe that God would do the right thing for her babies.
God does the right thing for these babies’ eternal lives. It is part of His sure hope. I ask this young lady if she would be willing to have some healing of her heart. I then asked her if she would be willing to write letters to each one of her babies. There were five.
She did. She wrote that she was so sorry for what she had done. She told them that God had saved her. That she would be seeing them one day. She asked if they would forgive her. She had left with a sure hope in her heart.
Lost. Found. Restored with hope/trust. Now a child of the King. Was she an accident at the door? No. God had an appointment for her.
Always be prepared to share the reason for the hope that is within you. It is yours to share.
One of the things I recommend to my Bible study group is to begin using legal pads to record their prayers on the left side of the page. I tell them to draw a line vertically in the middle of the page. The idea is to record God’s answers.
One needs to believe, trust, and have the sure hope that God’s answer will come. It will. So we will always have something to write in the right-hand column. It is always a blessing to read how God has answered our prayers. How He has been dependable. Trustworthy. He does not regularly focus on our wishes, nor is He amenable to following our directions. He is, however, vitally interested in maintaining our hope.
That is the very best for us in our lives. Thus, through our sure hope God is always reliable. He will answer with a yes, not now, or no.
He always is our God of hope, who has a plan and a purpose for all the days of our lives.