surrounded by Hope

Hope – that’s the word on the mug which sits in my kitchen windowsill, purposely positioned there so that it is ever before me, reminding me of my personal word of the year – hope. It is an important word to me and it appears that author Tom Hughes feels the same way I do. He says in his book, “Down to Earth” this –

“People can endure the loss of many things – finances, careers, relationships, self-esteem, and even loved ones – and still continue onward. Nevertheless, there is one thing human beings cannot survive without: hope. Hope is how we live. It is the air we breathe to lead spiritual lives. It gets us from one day to the next and sustains us in the dark times. . . . Hope gives us the power to press forward.”

I agree. Hope is essential in sustaining human life. I need something to hope for or someone to hope in or I give up and die. But hope keeps me going, even in the toughest of times. Hope does not let me down, which is what Paul says in Romans 5:3-5,

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”

Lately, I have been surrounded by hope, literally it seems to me. Just yesterday, while stopped at a traffic light, I noticed the license plate of the car in front of me, which I never do but this one was not the usual jumble of letters and numbers – it was only these four letters in large print (which is probably why I saw it so clearly) – “HOPE” in all caps. It was a welcome reminder.

Just the day before this, while prayer walking in the neighborhood, I came across a yard sign with “HOPE” in big letters. Underneath was the word “plumbing” in smaller letters, so it was the “HOPE” that stood out and caught my attention. Let me just say as a customer, if you need a plumber, you are definitely hoping that they know what they are doing and hoping that they can fix your problem. Anyone who needs a plumber, needs hope.

Doesn’t seem that long ago I was stuck in traffic next to a white van with “HOPE” in huge letters on its side and back. I don’t remember what business or service was advertised – I just remember the word “HOPE” bringing me a much needed message or reminder as I sat in that traffic jam waiting for the seemingly endless delay to be over so that I could get to my destination. I needed hope in that moment and received the reminder from a fellow highway hostage whom I did not know and would never meet.

Sometimes I don’t see hope in my circumstances (like I saw it literally in my circumstances of the traffic jam, displayed in large letters on the van) – but hope isn’t about what I can see. Hope is about what is unseen, about what is yet to be. Peter says this in 1 Peter 1:3-4,

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you,”

“A living hope” – I like that. Hope is alive! That’s because the Person in whom I have put my hope, Jesus Christ, is alive. And that makes all the difference. I can trust Jesus, therefore, I have hope.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)

When I want to surround myself with this living hope I need only surround myself with God’s word. The psalmist said this to God –

“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word.” (Psalm 119:114)

God’s word is “living and active” – therefore my hope can be living and active as well. I can choose to focus on all the negative, discouraging, destructive things going on today in our world, all the painful, seemingly insurmountable mountains in my life or I can choose to surround myself with the hope I find in God’s eternal, living word. That hope is available to me and to you, dear readers, twenty-four/seven. He will never “leave us nor forsake us” so we don’t ever have to be without hope. I will say this along with the psalmist –

“guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.” (Psalm 25:5)

I am surrounded by HOPE, all day long, even when darkness, pain and tough circumstances surround me, HOPE is right there with me in that mix of broken world despair – HOPE is there reminding me to hang on, to keep going, to keep believing, to persevere in the face of insurmountable odds because –

“weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

yes, HOPE surrounds me, HOPE holds onto me even when I am too tired to hold onto HOPE – because the tomb is empty HOPE lives – surrounding me, reminding me that a brighter day is coming, so my hope for each of you, dear readers is this –

“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.” (Romans 15:13)

sincerely, Grace Day

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