Hope. Boy oh boy, have I been hearing that word a lot lately! I think God is trying to tell me something! Usually when there is a theme that I keep hearing, it takes me 4 or 5 times before I actually get it...."Oh, God, you must be talking to ME!" But this time I think it was a little sooner. At least I hope so. Oops, there's that word again! :)
There are lots of things I hope for. I hope for warm water when I take my shower, I hope for my computer to have an Internet connection, for the barrista at Starbucks to get my order correct and for my post-baby-havin' scalp (maybe the correct term here is post-pardum) to stop shedding so that I won't be completely bald at the age of 33! (or even 93 for that matter!) I hope for no rain when we plan to go to the park and I hope that my dog won't walk on my freshly mopped floors with muddy paws.
There are also more serious things I hope for. I hope that my time spent with my kids is not in vain; that they really learn the core values I'm trying to instill in them, that they will love the Lord with all of their hearts, and that they will love each other as well. I hope that my husband and my kids know how much I love them. I hope for all of my family and friends to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and I really hope that my life will in some way be pleasing to Him when all is said and done.
There are plenty of things I hope for. I could probably go on for days listing those things. There is, however, only one person I place my hope in. When the rug has been ripped out from under me, when life as I knew it suddenly gets thrown off course...there is only one place to turn for hope and that is Jesus Christ. God has graciously blessed me with several amazing, reliable, trust-worthy people in my life, but only He has the power to save me, to rescue me, and to grant me peace.
Don't we all need to know there is hope? Sometimes it is needed at the end of a really bad day. You can rest your head on your pillow and exhale, having hope that tomorrow is a brand new day. But, what about the times when waking up the next morning isn't going to take your troubles away? The bad news you just received will still be true tomorrow. Things are looking dismal all around and there appears to be no bright side to look on. Then what? Where is the hope in a situation that really is hopeless? Ah, read that last line again. Did you catch it? Yes, our situations can be hopeless, but in God there always has been and always will be hope!
The hope we have in Christ is found at the cross. The cross can offer hope even when the bottom drops out and we find ourselves in utter despair. We see at the cross that Jesus loves us. That is an absolute fact and nothing can ever change that. God sent His son to die on the cross out of pure love. Not just a general, all-encompassing love for humanity, but also out of a very real, very intimate love for you and for me. There may come a time in your life where all you need to know is that someone loves you. Jesus' love for you will never cease. It is unchanging, unconditional and unending. That can bring hope in even the darkest circumstances.
What if you don't feel that love? What if you're struggling to believe it is even true? Well, look again at the cross. Have a heart-to-heart with your Maker. Tell Him your deepest feelings and ask Him to give you the hope that you so desperately need. We can go through huge difficulties feeling very alone. We think that no one can possibly understand how we are suffering and it seems that the world is so insensitive. Let me remind you of another factor of the cross. Jesus understood suffering. He endured the most intense suffering humanly imaginable. And, what about God the Father? He sacrificed His only son. I can't even fathom what that would be like as a parent. The message of the cross is not only that you are loved, but you are understood. To me, that is awesome!
There is a saying that goes, "To know you is to love you." I desire that to be true when people get to know me, but, to be quite honest, it means more to me when you turn the saying around. "To love me is to know me." What I mean is that I feel loved most when someone gets me! To be understood is so important to us all.
So, if you are struggling through something...be it a bad day or an impossibly difficult situation that you think may just do you in.....please, take heart! There really is hope. We may never know what good will come out of our bad circumstances, but through them, if we hold on tight to Jesus, we will have indescribable peace, we will be unequivocally loved and we will have a hope that will never be taken away.