Hope in a hope-less world!

What does it mean to have hope?

As you read this piece, I hope that the world may seem a different place from what it is like as I write this article! As I sit here, the country is still bewildered about its future – a minority government voted in and trying to rally support from even smaller political parties; people in our society are still reeling from the terrible atrocities in Manchester and London for which we have little in the way of explanation or understanding; the Brexit talks are soon to get underway and what the result of those will be is anyone’s guess at this time. All in all, the world seems to be in a ‘hope-less’ state.

The dictionary definition of hope comes in two parts – there is the noun that is described as ‘a feeling of expectation and desire for certain things to happen’ and then there is the verb ‘to hope’ which means ‘want something to happen or be the case’.

Like most of English grammar, things can be described in numerous ways, but as we can see, hope is both a state of mind, a feeling, together with the wish to experience something that is better than what we have now.

Searching for ‘that which is better’, can be found in our relationship with God through Christ. The gospel stories of Jesus are littered with instances whereby a person’s life was changed around by their encounter with him. Those who were ‘hope-less’ - the forgotten and marginalised, the lame and the blind, those affected by illness and disease – all had their lives turned upside down and inside out after their meeting with Jesus. Their ‘hope-less-ness’ was turned into ‘hope-full-ness’ and they went on their way rejoicing and praising God.

A speaker on motivational thinking, John Maxwell, wrote a piece on hope in his book, ‘Think of these things’. He wrote:

What Does Hope Do For Mankind?
Hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest.
Hope motivates when discouragement comes.
Hope energizes when the body is tired.
Hope sweetens while bitterness bites.
Hope sings when all melodies are gone.
Hope believes when evidence is eliminated.
Hope listens for answers when no one is talking.
Hope climbs over obstacles when no one is helping.
Hope endures hardship when no one is caring.
Hope smiles confidently when no one is laughing.
Hope reaches for answers when no one is asking.
Hope presses toward victory when no one is encouraging.
Hope dares to give when no one is sharing.
Hope brings the victory when no one is winning

In all of these things, if we hold onto the hope that comes from our relationship with a God whose love for us knows no bounds, then we should have nothing to fear for the future. Christ promised his disciples that he would be with them ‘even to the ends of the earth.’

That promise is now ours. Ours is not just mere hope, but a certainty if we believe in a God who can and does everything for us, even to giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

John Maxwell asks, ‘what does hope do for mankind?’. I say that God does everything for mankind, if we are only willing to let him. If we do, then the world can become a much better place than the one we currently find ourselves enduring!

Go in the hope, peace and love that God offers.

Every blessing,

Robert.

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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

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