They handed it to me as I walked through the doors, a box which I opened after I found my seat in the pew. It was a Mother’s Day gift, one given to every woman in church today. Whether we were alone or our children were with us, each of us received this gift. Inside the box was a mug, which was a perfect gift for me because whether it’s hot chocolate or hot tea, I can put a mug to good use every day. What immediately stood out to me though, was the one word on the mug.
Not a clever or a pithy saying, just one word – and that word was “hope.” Now I have never before chosen a word for the year, as many of my friends do each January. But this year I had chosen one, well two words actually, but I’ll tell you about the other word at another time. At present it is enough to know that one of my chosen words for this year is “hope.” So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I saw that my new mug had my chosen word for the year on it! And I didn’t have to special order it or anything.
A gift from God on Mother’s Day, reminding me not to give up hope – that’s what my new mug was to me in that Sunday morning moment. Hope is what makes life livable and perseverance possible. Hope is what sustains in the dark while waiting for the light to break through. Hope says, “hang on, the dawn is coming, better days are ahead.” Hope sees beyond what is, to what will be. Hope is God’s good gift to the world wrapped up in the person of His Son, Jesus. When Jesus was born, He brought hope to a hurting world, a world that had waited long for God’s promises to His people to be fulfilled.
When John the Baptist was in prison, he asked if Jesus was the “One” sent by God, in whom they should put their hope. This was the answer he received,
“The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” (Matthew 11:5)
How long must those blind, lame, deaf or leprous individuals have been waiting for something to happen or for someone to come along and change their lives for the better by setting them free from their afflictions? And then it happened. Raising the dead and preaching the Gospel to the poor were added bonuses, miracles full of hope for a world that had lost hope after four hundred years of God’s silence. (the Good News is literally a message of hope for all mankind – God has come in the flesh to forgive sins, to save the lost, to make a way to God where there was no way – to deliver in person God’s message of hope for every person in every age) – enter Jesus.
Jesus was born to be our bridge back to our Creator God. Jesus is my hope for reconciliation with my Heavenly Father, my hope for forgiveness and my hope for eternal life. Hope sustains me – it grounds me even as it gives me wings. Hebrews 6:18-19 says this about hope,
“God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
My soul needs an anchor in this turbulent world and “this hope”, which is hope in God, is what sustains me. The words of Isaiah 49:23 reassure me,
“Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in Me will not be disappointed.”
As I drink my favorite beverage from my mug of hope, I am encouraged with these words from Psalm 31:24 and Psalm 130:7 –
“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”
“O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption.”
unfailing love and full redemption – what a wonderful hope! I belong to a God whose presence brings hope to any situation, any circumstance – He gives hope to the hopeless. My Heavenly Father fills me with His hope. He is the God of hope as Romans 15:13 says,
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
like my new hope mug, Lord, I want to overflow with hope, so that I can share it with others who so desperately need the hope found only in You –
sincerely, Grace Day