by Anita Miles
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
A little over a year ago, I sat in our rented cabin for PFYC 2019 with the thoughts I was writing about swirling through my mind. Sitting there late that night finishing up, it would have been completely counterproductive to my topic for me to think that in another year, the world would feel as Henny Penny exclaimed “the sky is falling!!” Who would have ever imagined that we would find ourselves facing one of the greatest public health crises of our lifetime? It was not thinkable to me that we wouldn’t get to go back to Tennessee for the next PFYC because we were on a nationwide shutdown. It just wasn’t something that really ever crossed my mind…. I also never imagined that after months of being cooped up, with everyone on edge, ready to get back out to their lives of freedom, we would then find ourselves in a major culture war. It’s like we don’t have time to take a deep breath and there appears to be another blow to our routines. All of the cycles of chaos and noise have left many people - including some Christians - feeling somewhat hopeless and afraid! In preparing for this post, I kept coming back to this topic from last year. So I’ve done something I’ve never done before. I want to revisit that post. I feel like if we’ve ever needed an infusion of HOPE - it’s right now!!! Sometimes it’s helpful to know that we aren’t the only ones who have been helpless and hopeless before!!
One of my favorite quotes is by Amy Carmichael, and it goes like this…. "If I cannot hear ‘The sound of rain' long before the rain falls, and then go out to some hilltop of the Spirit, as near to my God as I can and have faith to wait there with my face between my knees, though six times or sixty times I am told "There is nothing', till at last there arises a little cloud out of the sea, then I know nothing of Calvary love."
There is a component of this quote that is vital to human survival and it seems to be lost more often these days than ever. It’s causing people of every generation to feel helpless in their situations and is skyrocketing suicidal ideations / actions and taking depression and anxiety to new levels. That one component is a little thing called hope!
Sarah lost hope when God didn’t fulfill His promises within the time that she thought was acceptable. So...she took it upon herself to help God out and created one of the biggest messes in history!
Elijah lost hope after one of the most elaborate showdowns in the Bible when he called fire down from heaven to prove to a crew of idol worshippers who the ONE and ONLY true God was. His hopelessness forced him into a cave with a bout of depression that is still talked about this many thousands of years later. It would seem a little ironic that a man who displayed such a powerful faith could fall prey to being completely devoid of hope of surviving one woman’s wrath.
Mary and Martha lost hope when they perceived Jesus didn’t care enough to come back to town in enough time to heal their brother before he died! Why in the world would Jesus think it would be ok to show up now - 4 days after he’s already dead and smelly from decay?
The disciples lost hope after the crucifixion of Jesus. Their hopelessness evolved into a myriad of questions and feelings of betrayal that left them reeling to figure out what they actually believed. Was everything they had just experienced over the past few years a complete sham?
Mary Magdalene lost hope as she slowly, but purposefully made her way to the tomb and couldn’t even recognize the voice of Jesus when he spoke directly to her. Her expectations were so low, that she mistook him for the gardener!
Ever been where any of these people were?
Did God delay a promise to you so you decided He wasn’t worth waiting on?
Have you sat down underneath the juniper - worried, fearful, and anxious - feeling like your life was in the balances because of the threats of people who didn’t like you? Has the anxiety led you to a place of complete isolation that you completely lost sight of your purpose for living?
Have you been angry at Jesus because He didn’t show up and do what you wanted Him to do, in a way you thought He should, when you needed Him most?
Have you felt the need to abandon faith because of the disillusionment from other people - because in your mind, it’s just not worth the risk of trusting anymore?
Have you been so hopeless that you wouldn’t even know Jesus if He stood beside you and spoke?
Somehow, someway in each of these stories, when they were at their lowest, something sparked in their hearts. And it was a little thing called hope!!
It wasn’t until she was 99, but Sarah saw God fulfil His promise to her in the form of a bouncing baby boy!!
As Elijah was moping around in his cave, the voice of God came in just a whisper to tell Elijah that there was a purpose he was needed for to fulfil!!
Can you imagine standing at the grave of Lazarus and watching your brother wrapped in his grave garb just sit up and walk out? Talk about turning some tables on a situation!!!
As the disciples were hidden away, can you envision their surprise to have Christ just walk right through a closed door? When you close the door to your heart, God has a quiet way in….
And that sweet Mary Magdalene…all Jesus had to do was say her name - and there was the little thing called hope that just exploded all over again!!
The field of psychology is working overtime to figure out how to put it inside someone. It’s invisible to the eye. It can’t be held in our hands. It can’t be stroked with our fingers. No one can hand it to you for you to possess. And they can’t talk you into getting it. But everyone knows when you’ve got some or when you don’t!!
That little thing called hope, turns the lights back on in your heart. It’s flame is visible with the glistening of your eyes. Christ alone gives it! And only you can decide if you keep it or let it die. It’s God’s desire to fill us with hope. Anything less is the plan of the destroyer of our soul! For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11
My prayer for each of us today - now more than ever - is that God could give us a fresh infusion of that little thing called hope! It will change our perspectives, our circumstances, and the way we pray! It’s a gift God gives. Throw open the windows of your heart and ask God to pour it in!!