The power of hope
The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
The Power of Hope
Maria did not see or hear from her husband for a long time. Edward had been assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division during the Korean war and had been captured when the Chinese overpowered US positions in North Korea during February of 1951.
Maria remembers vividly the day the military officers visited her home. She knew what this meant. Her tears were flowing before they ever reached her front porch. Edward was unaccounted for; he was missing in action and presumed to be a prisoner of war. But Maria held out hope, even though she knew his chances of survival were slim to none.
As the war dragged on, she was often overcome by grief. But she never gave up and never once considered moving on with life to live as if Edward was dead. No, she remained steadfast, faithful and hopeful for two long agonizing years.
In 1953 without warning, the officers showed up on her doorstep again. But there was something different this time … there was a spring in their step. Maria could sense this was joyful news! And, sure enough, she was told that Edward was alive. He was part of a prisoner exchange in Panmunjom. He was on his way to Walter Reed Hospital for some treatment and nourishment, and then he would return home to his beloved wife!
1 John 3:2-3 says, " Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure."
Children trust their dad. Whatever he says, they believe sincerely from their hearts. When he makes a promise, they bank their lives on it. If he says, “Jump! I’ll catch you!” they jump because they are assured of his love and capability. Sometimes earthly fathers fail. Some even lie. But the children of God have no reason to doubt God, his love or his promises.
Jesus promises to come again and take us home into his presence. We have no reason to doubt him, but sometimes we do. Why, because we forget who we are and who he is. When that happens, hope goes away. We begin to trust the world more than we trust God. But the world does not give true hope. In fact, the world fails at ever turn, thus making its followers experience hopelessness.
Hopelessness is a tragic experience. It brings on depression, anxiety, fear, and a deep abiding sense of sorrow that just won’t go away. Such sorrow can lead to giving up on life and the future. It can bring about destruction in self-worth, relationships, and even lives. In extreme cases, such sorrow has even led to suicide. Without hope, we give up on life.
However, when we know God and we love his Son we have the greatest hope of all. The Greek word, “elpis”, translated “hope” has nothing to do with wishful thinking. It has everything to do with assurance and confidence. We are confident that this world will fail, but our Father and his Son are completely reliable and will keep the promise that we have eternal life in him. We are promised that we will be like him when he returns and takes us to our eternal home. When we hope in him, we will stop trusting the faulty world and bank on God’s love, his faithfulness, his power and his ultimate deliverance from the struggles of this life and into the victory of his kingdom.
When you are in his family, you cannot help but win.
This Sunday we will continue the series we restarted last week titled, The Jesus Difference (part 6) Lessons from 1 John with the message, Children of God based on 1 John 3:1-10. What does it mean to be God’s child? How can you become his child and what are the benefits of this relationship? We will share this together as we experience the family life the church brings. I hope you will come and be a part of this time of fellowship and learning at First Christian Church of Clovis. I’ll be watching for you, but more important, God will be watching for you too.
Hoping in the Father,