Story by RON WELLS // March.April 2017
Evangelist Hal Lindsey once said, “Man can live about 40 days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air but only for one second without hope.”
Bombarded by tentative and disturbing news from TV, radio and social media, our lives often reflect these uncertain times. Our Friends on Facebook present perfect lives and beautiful photos leading us to assume their lives are better than ours.
These illusions can destroy us much like an empty can is crushed in one’s hand — validating the principle that when external pressures exceed the internal substance within us, there is an implosion or collapse of our health, emotions and spirit – the loss of hope.
What is hope? True hopefulness comes when we recognize our personal helplessness and exchange our fear for faith and our doubt for trust in God. When this happens, an amazing journey begins in spite of our circumstances. Facing our hopelessness gives God the opportunity to either change our circumstances or change us.
Author and minister Charles L. Allen says, “When you say a situation or a person is hopeless, you are slamming the door in the face of God.”
GOD IS IN CONTROL
The Old Testament tells us of a “riches to rags” story of Moses, a slave boy adopted into Pharaoh’s family, who later flees into the desert with a death threat on his head.
He becomes a poor, hired shepherd of lowly sheep for 40 years. At the age of 80, God uses him to lead the enslaved Israelites out of Egypt. Moses, a man of great despair and great hope, defeats Pharaoh at the Red Sea (Exodus 14) with strength and courage.
Another Old Testament narrative tells of the Prophet Elijah experiencing God’s supernatural power in defeating God’s enemies. When a death threat comes, Elijah feels frightened, exhausted and wants to die. Fears, compounded by physical and spiritual weariness, overcome his faith in God and Elijah loses hope. (1 Kings 18-19)
Both of these men lived with success and power, loss and disgrace. Each of them ultimately finds hope in the true Living God.
Many hundreds of years later, Jesus stood on the Mount of Transfiguration with Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:1-12). With an image of triumphant hope to the frightened disciples before Him, Jesus says to them, “Remember this (experience) after I am gone” (v. 9).
Soon after that, Peter’s hope is crushed by the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. Peter denies he ever knew Jesus, believing his Savior is gone. When Peter sees Jesus alive after the cross, his despair turns into great joy as he leads the early church and all believers to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15)
“The apostle Peter sums up our commitment to Christ in one word – hope,” notes longtime minister Louis Tamminga. “Hope is the vision that whatever happens, Christ is in control. Hope goes very deep; it is in the marrow of our bones.”
Spring is the season of resurrection and new life. Where there seems to be death, we find new beginnings. Resurrection reminds us that what was once lifeless and gone is now new and alive.
“Men’s hopes are dead hopes,” Christian writer Warren W. Wiersbe says. “Like cut flowers, they bloom awhile and then fade and die. … The Christian’s hope is fresh and fruitful because it is a living hope, purchased by the living Christ and promised in the living Word.”
Jesus is the reality for our hope and faith. He is alive and is coming again.
In his book, “The Life Beyond,” the late pastor Paul W. Powell writes: “One thing is certain, the world has not seen the last of Jesus Christ. He will come again. We have his word on it.”
Ron Wells is director of CentrePoint Ministries in Tyler, Texas. He and his wife, Beth, counsel with individuals and families in crisis and help them find help and hope. Website: www.centrepoint.cc Email: firstname.lastname@example.org