I hope you had a wonderful week, especially if you were kids are back in school. For me, I totally forgot the kids were starting back and got caught in all the school traffic.
For the past couple of weeks, we have also gone back to school. The first week we were reminded how to live a courageous life by Joshua, Moses’ successor. The Lord commanded him to be strong and courageous.
Last week, we raised the white flag of surrender in our lives. We were encouraged to surrender our lives, actions, and thoughts to God to live a life fully devoted to Christ.
This week, I want to encourage us to see the healing power of hope in our lives. This week has been tough for many. The stories of struggle are real, and the Lord wants to remind us that hope is not dead but alive.
Jesus is the hope of the world.
Several years ago, I heard Katherine and Jay Wolf speak at my parent's church. While Jay was studying to be a lawyer, Katherine suffered a stroke which left her fighting for her life.
Over the course of days, weeks, months, and years, Katherine has recovered to help lead a ministry called Hope Heals and has a book by the same name. Without hope in the Lord, they would have given up a long time ago.
When tragedy strikes, it is hard to have hope. In fact, you may question where God is when tragedy strikes or why these things keep happening to my family and friends.
God never promised us smooth sailing as a believer. We misquote or misrepresent this when we become believers.
When tragedy strikes, where do you turn?
For Katherine and Jay Wolf, they could have thrown in the towel, but their hope was in the unseen power of God.
The book of Psalms is encouraging, strengthening, life-giving, convicting, and provides healing.
In Psalm 42, the psalmist opens with,
“As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?” – Psalm 42:1-2
The longing of the psalmist soul for the Lord brings hope for the weary traveler. When we miss the mark at school or work, the Lord is there. When things don’t go right at home, the Lord is there.
Our souls long to be connected to our Heavenly Father. A passionate pursuit of the Almighty is what the psalmist opens within this passage.
Further in the passage, we hear the psalmist cry out,
“My hear is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowd of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration!” – Psalm 42:4
Some might say this was our lives over the past year and a half. Our rights being infringed upon, our liberties cut short, and all the time wondering what God was up to in our world.
The heartbreaking news of missionaries and Christians under attack and dying in Afghanistan is tough. The world is at war, and hope seems to be fleeting.
The psalmist continues,
“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God!” – Psalm 42: 5-6a
Our hearts ache for the misery facing our world, but as discouraging as we find it, there is still hope underneath the struggles.
The Lord is there in our struggles. The psalmist said, “I will put my hope in God!” The author did not say, “I will think about putting my hope in God” – they made an impassioned plea or a definitive statement – “I will put my hope in God!”
What if we did that? What if we cried out and said, I will put my hope in God?
The good news is you can put your hope in Jesus today.
I don’t know where you are on your faith journey, but God is ready and waiting for you. He didn’t head to the other room to grab a snack; He is available 24/7 when you need Him.
Katherine and Jay Wolf share their story in Hope Heals and talk about the miracle God gave them in a surgeon named Dr. Nestor Gonzalez.
A man who knew what to do and whom God placed in this position for such a time as this. A man who took up the challenge when the prognosis was grim. A man whom God has used to bring hope to millions of people by saving the life of Katherine Wolf.
Hope is not an afterthought – hope is part of who we are. It is written into the foundation of the world by a God who loves us.
Maybe you find yourself asking the question, is there more than this life has to offer?
The answer is “yes,” and God wants you to know that you matter to Him.
Does your heart need some encouragement today?
You were not a mistake – the creator of the universe created you with all of your goodness and flaws – just like He created me. You are loved, and hope has a name – His name is Jesus. If you don’t know Jesus and want to, you can pray this simple prayer.
There is no magic in these words.
Lord, I know I am a sinner, and I ask you come into my heart today, and wash my sins away, and make me whole. Thank you for your forgiveness and calling me to You. Amen!
That’s it – no magic, no special words, no fanfare – you can do it from anywhere, and God will hear you. He sent His son to die for your sins and mine. When things are changing rapidly, we need to be reminded of God’s goodness and His hope during these tough days.
He sent His one and only Son to be the hope of the world, and Jesus died on the cross so that we could live in eternity with Him. No matter what you are going through right now, remember this: the Lord loves you, and hope has a name – His name is Jesus.
Lord, thank you for the reminder that you are our hope in this world. Sometimes in the midst of our struggles, we lose sight of that hope. Please give us strength this week, and help us to see the hope that surrounds us. Amen!
- Hope Heals – Katherine and Jay Wolf (book)
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