It’s such a little word that it can almost go unnoticed.
Until recently, I don’t think I ever thought too much about it.
1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love….”
Faith I understand.
Love I’ve experienced.
But hope…that’s a tough one for me.
To be honest, until recently I hadn’t even realized that too many years of pain, grief, disappointment, and struggle had taught me that I shouldn’t really allow myself hope for anything.
But I think things are starting to change.
A few weeks ago I was watching a television show about a young girl who had no hope. It wasn’t hard to figure out why. Years of disappointment, heartache, rejection, and pain left her believing that “Hope is for suckers….if you hope for things you get crushed.” Looking at her circumstances, it wasn’t hard to figure out how she’d come to this conclusion.
Then one day she met someone who caused her to hope just a little bit. In the next scene, you see her telling her friend that she’s starting to think that maybe she was all wrong about life. Maybe it was okay to hope. She was going to give it a try.
For the next few days, our young heroine carried herself with a new sense of confidence. As someone commented, “Hope looked great on her.”
Then, as often does in life, her newfound hope was issued a challenge. Out of nowhere, circumstances arose that threatened to destroy the thing she was hoping to see take place.
Sitting next to her on a bench, our heroine’s friend says, “I’m so sorry. You were right. If you hope, you get crushed.”
Then with complete serenity and determination the young woman who formerly believed you couldn’t count on anything or anyone said, “I’m not ready to give up hope just yet….I just found it.”
In the end, the storm didn’t destroy her hope.
A few weeks ago, I went through a situation that brought this quote back to my mind.
For the first time in years, my brother and I had decided that we were going to try something new. Being completely vulnerable, I’ll admit that this was a HUGE step for us. It took all of the hope and courage that we could muster to decide that we were no longer going to allow the hurt, disappointment, abuse and oppression that had surrounded this activity in the past control our future. Even though we knew we couldn’t rewrite the past or change other people’s choices, we made the conscious decision to start writing a new ending filled with healing and joy.
Like the young girl in the sitcom, our first response after taking the step of faith was joy. It felt amazing to overcome and move forward.
Of course, life also imitated art when our big step was met quickly met by opposition.
Looking back, I should have seen it coming and planned for it. I don’t know why I didn’t expect it except that I was so excited about the idea of moving forward. Unfortunately, because I hadn’t prepared for the storm, at first it was a little jolting.
Before long, I started thinking thoughts like, “Maybe it wasn’t worth it…..Why did I ever expect things to be different? I guess things never will really change….why’s the use of hoping for more?”
During a time of relaxation and reflection, I accidentally fell asleep.
When I awoke, the Holy Spirit had something to say, because I woke up with the words to an old-time Pentecostal song going through my head.
Well, I went into the enemy’s camp, and I took back what he stole from me.
I took back what he stole from me, took back what he stole from me
I went into the enemy’s camp, and I took back what he stole from me.
He’s under my feet, under my feet, Satan is under my feet.
With renewed courage and tenacity, I realized that this song was describing exactly what had happened.
My brother and I had decided that we were done letting the enemy steal from us. By our actions, we declared war and took back our joy, our peace, our contentment, and a whole plethora of other things that we’d lost.
Of course, the enemy wasn’t happy! Why would he be? Until that point, sadness and shame, pain, guilt, and grief had been in control of the entire situation. Then we came in and said, “By the power of the Holy Spirit, we’re done. We’re going to live in God’s freedom.”
We took back what was stolen from us, and now we had to choose to stand firm and maintain our ground.
Realizing that it was a spiritual battle we were fighting, I determined to stand. Just like the young fictional heroine, I decided in that moment, “I’m not ready to give up hope just yet….I just found it.”
Even more….I think I like it.
In 2016, because I have FAITH in the ONE that I LOVE, I will embrace HOPE.
What about you?
Will you join me?
Yes, I know it can be difficult. Even though I don’t know where you are today or what yesterday did to steal your hope, I want to challenge you to join me on the journey of embracing hope again.
Let’s dare to dream.
Let’s give hope a chance.
Let’s choose to grasp hold of hope and cling to it with all that we’ve got.
Together we’ll take a deep breath, take a leap of faith and trust that:
“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.” Jeremiah 29:11
I’m in---are you with me?