Psalm 39:7 ESV “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.
As humans we often give gifts to ourselves that we don’t really want. Every single day we open up the gift of doubt, worry, and fear. It is a gift God doesn’t give to us, but we decide to give to ourselves.
Today, I am going to urge you and urge myself to open up the gift of hope brought to us by our loving God. Even in situations where it doesn’t look like anything can be hoped for, God can and will show you the way.
‘There was a woman by the name of Nieng Chen. She was a Chinese Christian, and she suffered imprisonment and torture by the Chinese government during the Cultural Revolution. The Chinese government saw religious activity as a subversive activity. They tried to torture it out of Mrs. Chen. No matter what they did to her, Nieng Chen could not be broken. Later on she wrote why. Mrs. Chen found hope in the smallest incident. In her cell, she watched a spider as it was weaving a web. As she looked at the web, she thought, “My, if God can be in this small spider, organizing and directing the building of this intricate web, then God is in my situation too. Even if it looks bleak in the moment. Even if it looks like there is no hope.”
Over a period of a year when she was in prison, she did not get depressed or distressed. She held to her faith. She held to her hope. It so impressed her captors that not only was she released, but they wanted to know what she had that made her so happy. She was happier in her cell than they were outside of the cell.’
We often neglect the great gift of hope, given us directly from God. Hope is something you have with you from the beginning. It is installed within you. No matter what is going on in your life, you can call upon that gift of hope, and you will manifest it in your own mind and your own life day to day.
A child was on a train trip. The child asked when he could see his Dad. The mother responded, “Tomorrow.”
The child didn’t really understand the concept of tomorrow, so the child said, “Please explain tomorrow to me.”
The mother said, “After it gets dark and then light again.”
Not long after the conversation, the train entered a tunnel. When it emerged on the other end, the child asked, “Is it tomorrow yet?”
That is the essence of hope. Knowing there will be a tomorrow. Knowing things are going to get better. Knowing we are with God, and we expect in great faith that things are going to turn in a positive direction.
Hope is hearing the melody of the future, and faith is dancing to that melody.
We always have a choice. We don’t have to live in the doubt, fear, and panic of the moment. We can live in God’s hope.
In Psalm 42:5-6 it says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. . .”
What do we need more than anything else in all life? They say we can live about 50 or 60 days without food. We can live 10 or 12 days without water and a few minutes without air. However, we cannot live any time at all without hope. There has to be hope.
When you see a person who has given up hope they are in serious trouble. They need to have hope. They need to have something to hold onto. If they only knew hope is the gift they already have, but it has been neglected. If they knew when they opened it, all the good things in life would pop out, then they would open it.
In Romans 8:24-25 we read, “For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
Hope is that which saves the human. We cannot see hope yet, we may not be able when we are in a situation to see or even to think about or even imagine how in the world this will ever come out right. Yet, if we hold on to God who granted us hope, we will have great patience and endurance. We will have great power to bring about that which we want in our lives. It will work out all right.
Let me tell you a story. A rich man entered a village and he called all the poor people together in the town square. He told them he wanted to share his wealth with them by giving each person enough money to help them begin a new life. Some of the poor people rushed forward, grateful to the rich man, eager to accept his great gift. Those who knew this man were not surprised since they realized how generous he was and that he asked for little in return. But others of the village said, “There has to be a catch. There has to some strings to this gift. No one gives something away without wanting something in return.” They accused the rich man of using his wealth for the sake of controlling others. They refused to take any of his wealth. When the rich man left the village some of the people were ready to begin a whole new life while others who had mistrusted the rich man had condemned themselves to a life of suffering in poverty and hunger.
We each have a richness in our life. There is a rich presence– God. God’s one desire, God’s will is to give to you, but do we accept the gift?
In a moment of despair, when things aren’t going right, little things or big things, do we hope with all our faith, knowing God is with us? Or do we in some way distrust, do we doubt, do we have fear? Do we think this can’t happen to me and if it did there would be strings attached? Do you ever hear yourself say, “I just cannot hope for something like this to happen?”
In Romans 5:4 it says, “And endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” To have great faith and hope in God you have to have endurance in your ability to have that faith. You have to have faith in the little things, and then when something big comes along you will have all the power you need. It will be built into you automatically. You will not deny it, you won’t doubt, you will know. You will know that no matter how big the mountain is, with God, you can get through it, tunnel under it, go over it, around it, whatever you need to do. God will know the way and will direct you.
Romans 5:5 “And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
What a powerful reassurance that is!
Today I ask you to examine your own life with faith. Believe in the power of God in your own life. This is when spirituality comes alive for you. It has to be alive on the ordinary days and the ordinary moments of the week when you are facing a challenge. Believe in the power of good. Know in every circumstance of your life the power of God is present within you and can be expressed by you. Know God will help you meet whatever comes your way.
In that moment, you accept the neglected gift of hope. Faith is active in and through you. You meet it all with faith because you have faith in God. There will never be a need in your life so great that God cannot stand up to the need with you.
I like the kind of encouragement the president of a scientific laboratory gave the medical convention when he said, “Gentleman, my father was a country doctor and we now know scientifically there wasn’t a thing that he carried in his little black bag that would cure anybody; but people got well because he patted them and he said, `You’re going to get well.’ That encouragement released something in and through them.” The magnificent and the amazing power of hope.
Hope is one of the greatest gifts we can give to another person.
Matthew 5:16 says, “. . . Let your light shine. . . .” Our light shines in many different ways. We constantly talk about ways to let our light shine within ourselves and to shine to others. One of the ways to let our light shine is hope. Hope is infectious; people will catch it from you when they’re around you.
One of the greatest gifts leaders can give is the power of hope. Its power should never be underestimated. If you own a company give your employees hope. If you run a household, give your family hope. Whatever you do, give the gift of hope to others, AND to yourself.
Winston Churchill recognized the value of hope. He was the Prime Minister of England during some of the darkest hours of World War II. A reporter once asked him what his country’s greatest weapon had been against Hitler. Without pausing for even a single millisecond, he said, “It was what England’s greatest weapon has always been, hope.”
In the book, You Can Make a Difference, by Gary Collins, he tells a story that took place late in the summer of 1943. There was a young Naval Officer who was driving a Jeep on a Marine base. World War II was raging throughout the Pacific and there was fighting just a few miles north in the Solomon Islands. At the sound of sirens the driver pulled over and watched as two Jeeps full of military police cleared the way for a motorcade. The young man was expecting to see some high-ranking General.
The young officer was genuinely surprised. The Army weapons carrier sped by, the passenger was a civilian wearing a big floppy red hat, a hat to protect her from the blistering sun. Eleanor Roosevelt had traveled into the dangerous war zone to encourage and give hope to the troops.
Her visit, he said in his autobiography, made a great impression as to what one person could do.
God really cares about you. I don’t believe you are right now by accident. I think we are here to join together in a great movement. I think it is because someone, somewhere, is going to make a dramatic difference that we don’t even know about because of the hope they decide to give away.
I want you to ask yourself the following questions.
l. Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and desires of little children? The number one gift they need is hope.
2. Are you willing to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old? The number one gift they need is hope.
3. Are you willing to stop asking how much your friends love you and ask yourself whether you love them enough to always call forth hope?
4. Are you willing to bear in mind the things other people have to bear on their hearts? The number one gift to give them is hope.
5. Are you willing to trim your lamp so it will give out more life and less smoke and to carry it in front of you so your shadow will fall far behind you with hope?
6. Are you willing to make a grave for your ugly thoughts – your thoughts of fear, your thoughts of doubt? Bury your thoughts of how this can never come to pass, and plant a garden for your hope with the gate open so other people may feel and sense it in you.
If you are ready to do these things, then indeed you are ready for this life filled with hope.
Let us pray.
God, you created me to be an expression of Divine hope. Being that expression of Divine hope to my family and friends blesses me. Oh how I pray I can be a blessing to others. Yes, Lord, You created me to be an expression of Divine hope; help me to spread that hope and love to each person I meet.. Amen
With hope we can truly say and feel Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.