I Choose Hope!

 

Hope

When you look around today, as a Christian, it’s difficult to not lose hope.  It’s easy to get discouraged.  The states of our world, nation, state, and even our families are dismal at best.  We are living in a time when things seem totally out of control.  Hate, intolerance, and offense are words heard daily and usually aimed at us.  People have different ways of dealing with all that is going on.  Some people rant and rave, but put no action to their words.  Other people placate and try to be the devil’s advocate.  Yet, still others bury their heads in the sand and hope that when they come up for air it will all be better.  To tell you the truth, I’ve spent time in all of these camps at one time or another.  If we don’t directly feel the effects of those things around us, it’s easy to let someone else fight the battle or deny the battle even needs fought.

At the beginning of every year, for several years now, I’ve taken the month of January to do some soul searching.  This year is no different.  I like to look at the upcoming year, set some goals and get back in physical and spiritual shape after the chaos of the holidays.  People may attack the New Year in different ways, but for me fasting and prayer seems a good way to start.  So as I was lying in bed praying and thinking on all the negative things swirling around me, the Lord was gracious.  He put some new thoughts in my head about the situations we seem to be facing.

So this year, I choose hope.

Let me explain.  It is really easy to get wrapped up in all that is wrong in our world; both locally and globally.  It’s human nature to gravitate to the negative.  Any news outlets or social media sites are filled with all that is wrong.  What we as Christians often fail to remember, and what the Lord so graciously reminded me of, is in Nehemiah 8:10, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is our strength.”  It may look as if we are losing the battle, and honestly, I think we are, but there is hope.  Our God is still on the throne.  Jesus is still sitting at His right hand.  Nothing that is happening here on earth surprises them.  Oh, I do think it saddens them, but They know all things.  There is nothing new under the sun.  They are sovereign and They know the entire plan.  So, I find peace and rest in that.

I also draw hope from those Christians around me that I see doing great things.  I draw hope from the mother of four, who for the last 13 years has selflessly fought on the front lines for religious freedom.  Even in the midst of constant criticism and attacks, she presses on.  I draw hope from a loyal friend who is fighting tirelessly for the unborn, even in the midst of naysayers who tell her it can’t be done.  I draw hope from a small country church whose numbers are dwindling, yet when given the opportunity to sign a petition for religious freedom, nearly every person signed.  I find hope in a county councilman who believes in our county and that we can make America great again by building from the ground up, starting at the county level, building on Biblical principles.  I find hope in that I still live in a school district that is not ashamed to speak the Word of God or sing songs about Jesus in their Christmas program.  I find hope in my children, who see what is going on in the world and can look at things through untainted eyes and clearly know right from wrong.  I draw hope from those who are in seemingly impossible circumstances, yet by the grace of God press on.  God chooses the most unlikely and seemingly under qualified to do great things for Him.  So, I have Hope!

I don’t know what this year will bring to our world, our nation, our state or in my family.  In my plan, the way I would like to see things go; there would be lots of changes for the good.  Luckily for all of us, I’m not in charge, because I would mess it up!  But I know Who is in control and He’s got this!  He’s got all of it, down to the smallest detail.  I plan to do my part.  He does not call us to be spectators.  Actually, the part He has called me to do scares me to death, but I am resting in the fact that in my obedience, He is in control and He will get the glory. I found this verse today and it seemed so fitting.

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.  We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.  We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”  Hebrews 6:10-12

We do not labor in vain.  God sees our efforts.  Our rewards here on earth may be few, as a matter of fact, they may seem like a curse at the time, but I look forward to our eternal rewards which can never be taken.

I have a feeling that this year will be nothing like I expect or want, but I’m going to try to be ok with that.  I know who holds the future and He holds me in the palm of His hand.  We may not win the battles here on earth, but I know Who wins the war!  He is coming soon to take us home, where we will stand in victory.  So, no matter what this year brings, I choose HOPE.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”  1 Peter 3:15-16

By living in the strength of the joy of the Lord, I hope that I can share that HOPE with others.  What about you, friend?  Joy and Hope aren’t just for Christmas.  I think it’s time we show the world where our Joy and our Hope come from-JESUS!  Will you choose HOPE, too?

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Choosing Hope!

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