Hope
O Lord, let Your loving-kindness be upon us as we put our  hope  in You.-Psalms 33:22
We must accept finite disappointment, but we must not lose hope -
Martin Luther King Jr.

What an adventure life is! What unpredictability! The advice comes from all directions that we as humans can protect ourselves from all difficulties, but deep down, we know we can’t. Let's not let that fear of harm stop us from living! The Lord of the universe can bring protection, and our hope is in Him!

Ever been in so much pain that you just didn’t think you could continue? If you have had a child or maybe a kidney stone, you have! Several years back, there was a report on a hiker that had a boulder trap his arm. For hours, then days, he tried to free himself but without success! He felt he was in an area where he would not be found, so an idea came to mind. Cut the arm off, and then you will be free! That’s a hard thought, full of immediate pain but eventual freedom! Makes one cringe on the inside, but when he returned from the mountain and the reporters saw his face so glad to be among the living, they understood! That is wanting to be free badly!

Then the spiritual life comes to mind. If it happens in the physical, then it most likely happens in the spiritual (often they mirror each other). Could it be that the difficulties we are experiencing now would bring greater freedom later? Could it be that something good can come from pain if we only look past it? Strangely, that thought can bring hope and then courage!  

We have been taught that we can be pain-free, and that is true…..in heaven. In this fallen world, however, our hearts are going to have some pain. The reality here on earth is more like the sport’s commercial, which says, “no pain, no gain”! There is going to come a time in all of our lives when every truth we know in our heads will not relieve the pain in our hearts, but the God within us will bring relief and hope!

The physical act of running is a good example. When you are running a long distance, and you don’t think you can take another step, but you choose to push through anyway, then there is a high that comes, and you think you can almost run forever! So too, it is in the spiritual world. When we hit the wall spiritually, and we believe we just can’t take another step, cry out to God (like Peter did walking on the water), and lean in. Then Jesus will show up, the breakthrough will come, and it will be glorious!

Again, I don’t want to mislead anyone. God is in control, not us, but if He asks us to stay in, do so because He is there, and He is pushing us through to something better!

My mind goes to something my daughter said a few days ago, “a good coach will push you past your viewed limits into greatness, and then you win”! Now we are not always going to like the push, but if we stay in because we trust the character of our coach (Jesus), we will have spiritual success and freedom!

What I want us to hear is to stay in, don’t give up on our God! Keep getting up, doing the next thing, having the right attitude (even if we have to pray for it!), and moving on. Because when we do, we will not be disappointed. He is cheering us on! The Creator of the universe will show up, wrap His arms around us and say well done!  

We know this: He is faithful (He can’t be anything else). He will see us through (because He loves us). And when we need encouragement, He will give it and push us through. So my friends pray for Christ to show up and relieve our pain and bring us hope! Because He will! Even in these dark days, hope can conquer much when our hope is in Christ Jesus!

Brenda Lewis
Executive Minister
Woodbine Church
5200 Woodbine Road
Pace, Florida 32571