Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Thrill of Hope

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

We have a radio station that started playing Christmas music 24/7 the day after Thanksgiving. I find myself singing along with the likes of Burl Ives and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We’ve sung these songs so many times, the words pass our lips without a thought of their meaning — that is, until the Lord reminds you of their significance. 

Here’s something that struck me the other day: “A thrill of hope; the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn” from O Holy Night.

“The thrill of hope.” That’s what helps us make it through a rough marriage. A health crisis. Weariness from the weight of our sin-sick world. There is hope for something better. 

Do you remember the story of the paralytic who remained at the Pool of Bethesda for 38 years? When the waters were stirred, you could be healed by getting into it first. How many times in those 38 years did this guy fail to get healed? We don’t know, but he must have had a lot of hope. He stuck it out for 38 years! When would you have bailed? Year one? Five? Twenty? Thirty-seven? 

Over the years, I’ve seen people lose their hope. There were many reasons for it, here are a few.

Hopeless friends sucked the hope out of them. They got up in the morning, got into the Word, prayed, and started their day with their eyes on the Lord. Positive, ready, trusting God. Then, their hopeless friends showed up. “I’d be miserable if I were you. You’ve been sick… or out of work.. or ???” In a instant, it’s like someone turned the lights off and your hope was gone. 

Some lost their hope because it’s hard to hope. Hope doesn’t come naturally. It takes hard work to keep your hope. You don’t have to work at being hopeless, negativity just shows up. You must discipline your mind to be hopeful

Some lost their hope because it hurts to hope. The author of Proverbs wrote, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” [13.12]. When you hope, you are vulnerable to being disappointed. One of my Bible College professors said, “It hurts to hope sometimes. However, it hurts more not to hope.”

“The thrill of hope!” It’s not just for eternity, but also for here and now. It’s here and now as God forgives sins, answers prayers, lifts burdens, changes lives, and meets our need. 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15.13

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