Hope in a Hopeless World?

Hate. Racism. Senseless deaths. Cold-blooded murder. Unthinkable tragedy.

In the midst of a nation spiraling down quickly, our hearts are certainly weighed down with grief that fills the air.

Waves of fear engulf us, leaving us drowning with no seashore in sight.

Raging with a fierce, righteous anger, we demand justice. We rally together against the evil, making our voices known. Boldly we discuss the best solutions for fixing this wicked world.

But when all is silent and nobody is around, there’s a question I believe we all are asking.

Where is my hope?

Is it in the police force?

The political candidates running for president?

The guns hidden under the bed?

The promises of the government?

Where is your hope?

Who or what are you clinging to when everything familiar and what used to be stable comes crashing down?

If it’s anything in this world, you will come up empty. Even a hefty savings account isn’t going to hold you together when evil chokes the life out of anything promising.

As followers of Christ, we should not be surprised at the spiraling down of this world.

Jesus tells us very plainly in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart because I have overcome this world.”

I love the way Jesus tells us like it is. He doesn’t sugar coat the situation.

Doesn’t say you might have trouble. Doesn’t say if you just read your Bible and pray enough you’ll avoid trouble.

He says we WILL have trouble.

Sometimes I get stuck on the first part of this truth and camp out there for a while. I allow my troubles to define me and dictate how my life will be lived. I turn off the news in disbelief and let myself be overcome with fear and despair.

But the next part of this truth should awaken hope in the depth of my soul! He says to take heart because HE has overcome this world. 

The apostle Paul makes it plain for us in more detail about the kind of trouble we will see play out in this world. See if any of this sounds familiar:

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. (2 Timothy 3:1-4)

Yep. This passage covers just about everything we see playing out in our nation today.

So I ask you again…Where is your hope?

Even as Christians, we might say our hope is in Jesus–but we silently doubt.

Our lips may say our trust is in Him, but out of fear we attempt to control our future. We cling to our jobs, money and possessions a little too tightly.

But look at the truth of Romans 8:38 and let it sink in:

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. (NLT)

Death is all around us in a nation that doesn’t value life. But God’s love is stronger.

The enemy is on the prowl, deceiving many people. But God’s love is stronger. 

Fear grips us as we wonder what will happen to our children. But God’s love is stronger.

Worries of how to survive the aftermath of tragedy weigh us down. But God’s love is stronger.

On a more personal level, I’ll peel back the layers of my own heart.

Will another maniac show up in my town, randomly killing people I know? 

Will my loved ones fall prey to the enemy’s lies and turn away from God?

Will my 12-year-old daughter be safe in a world I can’t always protect her from?

How will we survive the next tragedy that strikes closer to home? 

While I might ponder these questions simply because I’m human, I choose not to linger there.

I will choose to cling to the truth of who Jesus is. I will choose to anchor my hope in the unfailing love of God. Yes, His love is stronger. He is sovereign. Even when I don’t fully understand all that will play out in this world, I will trust Him.

I live in a hopeless world. But my hope is in the unshakable love and power of my Heavenly Father.

Where is your hope?

hope

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

Overflowing to the Brim

When I first got my Keurig coffee machine, I had to play around with it before I figured out which size cup to use for each setting. One of the first times I used it, I didn’t have a large enough cup for the amount of coffee trickling out. When the coffee oozed out and spilled over the brim of my cup, I quickly grabbed an empty cup to pour the overflow of coffee into it.

As I was cleaning up the spilled coffee, I learned two things: Number one of course was to use an appropriate sized cup for the large cup setting!

Lesson number two was much more profound as I was reminded of a scripture in Romans 15:13 “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.”

After watching my first cup of coffee overflow, it hit me that the only way to overflow with the power of the holy spirit is to BE STILL. If I’d moved the cup before it spilled over, it wouldn’t overflow. And just like that cup, WE need to sit still long enough to hear God speaking truth and hope into our weary hearts.

So what exactly is overflowing out of our hearts? It’s hope! The hope of what Jesus has done for us. The hope of eternity. The hope of the resurrection power living in us every day!

And when we get filled up so much with that hope, it is going to spill over. Hopefully we aren’t just standing still when this happens. Hopefully we will spill out into those around us.

Those around us who are hurting.
Those around us who are empty.
Those around us who need the hope of Jesus.

Kristin Sauder, a dear friend of mine who recently went to Heaven, once said to us, “Full things are waiting to be emptied. And empty things are waiting to be filled!”

So where are you right now in this season of life? Is the brim of your heart almost full? If so, who are you pouring into? Who around you needs to be filled with hope?

Or maybe you feel empty. If that is the case, I encourage you to take time to sit still before God and allow Him to fill you up. Allow Him to show you the hope you are looking for in your current challenge. And then you need to surround yourself with other believers who are FULL! Because if they are FULL, then you are going to get some of that hope overflowing. And it will spill right into the empty places in your heart.

So the next time you grab a cup of coffee, let it be a reminder to you that God longs to fill our hearts to overflowing. And He wants us to spill over into the people He’s placed around us.

Romans 15:13 “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.”