“As a follower of Christ, hope is within us even when we don’t feel it.” I heard these words and they hung in the air before me. I stopped and sat as if I was frozen in time.
Pete Wilson of Northridge Church spoke on hope at a time I needed the words he shared. He said, “Hope is a simple concept that no matter what is happening, you have the belief it will get better.” Powerful. I have always believed that hope leads to faith. If I truly believe genuinely that my situation will get better then the door of faith opens. Faith is placing my trust in God. All my trust.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Pete moved on to say that hope requires growth. I understand this. There have been so many times I have been riddled with anxiety and worry. I was so fearful of not being able to control my situation. I would almost make myself sick overanalyzing and thinking of plan B. C, D for how I would control things. Then a wake of peace came over me. God’s peace reminds me I am not in control. God is.
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
The last few weeks have been tough. I stood again at the hospital with a sick parent. Another time that life stopped and I prayed constantly for healing. Healing for my mom, healing for my ministry, healing for my family. God, I know you heard my prayers. How are You going to grow me in this situation? How will You pull me closer to You and deepen my relationship with you in this illness?
Psalm 34:18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Every time I go through these hospital walks, once with my dad with pancreatic cancer, once with my granddaughter with gastroschisis, and now with my mom with a severe vaccine reaction, I reach for God’s hand. I know He is near and I draw on hope to get me through. I sit at the bedside praying and pulling peace from God’s love I recognize that He is with me. I remember another one of God’s promises.
Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
God is always one step ahead of me. He knows where I am going and He prepares the way. He never stops and moves to the side for me to pass Him. He never expects me to go it alone. This gives me hope. Hope that leads to faith. Faith that leads to peace.
Pete went on to remind us of Acts 2:42-47. It was a time when Jesus had died yet the small group of followers was full of hope. Jesus had told them that He would be gone and they continued to focus on growth. Growth of new members, growth in their love, and God’s truth. They pulled together at the most difficult time. Jesus was gone and they were few.
Acts 2:42-47 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Hopelessness is crippling and if we fall into hopelessness we lose the biggest gift God gives us. The gift of peace in our lives. God is Our loving Father. He wants the best for us and when it’s not the best, He wants us to lean on Him. I am leaning Father. I am taking a deep breath before I pray to clear my mind and open my heart. I am handing over my problems to You and I am hoping in faith and knowledge that You will take them. You have so many times before and I am grateful. You are my refuge.
Psalm 121:1-4 reminds me of how I always need to focus on God and know He never takes a break. He never shuts an eye or falls asleep leaving me to fend for myself.
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The other day my husband and I were driving in a significantly heavy downpour of rain. I could barely see past the windshield. I stated that I thought we should pull over until the rain stopped and he said no we needed to move on. After about 20 minutes of driving in this torrential rain, we reached our destination. I realized that my husband was focused on getting us to our destination. Just like the walk I am taking right now, I need to stay focused on God. I can’t see tomorrow but the focus on God will have me arrive as He moves ahead of me. He knows my destination through this rain.
Everyone quotes Jeremiah 29:11 but I quote Jeremiah 29:11-13. It is more complete.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Thank you once again for meeting me here. I pray you know God’s peace and that you practice hope which will lead you to faith. My love and gratitude-LoLo