Choosing Hope

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“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV)

“But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8 NIV)

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)

What does our God require of us when times get difficult, when the reality of life threatens to overwhelm, when getting through the next hour exhausts all strength, and when the call to trust and obey is tested by the question, “Why Lord?” Paul puts faith, hope and love at the center of our struggle to endure, persevere and complete the race set before us. He calls us to have great faith, but faith that moves mountains is a gift of the Holy Spirit. He calls us to love others like Jesus loves us, but this deep and abiding love that leads to sacrifice is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Hope seems to be our choice alone. Where will we put our hope when there seems to be no explanation, rhyme or reason for our circumstances? In whom will we put our hope when His faithfulness and love are difficult to grasp.

I was sitting next to Carol on a flight to Chicago. She commented on the Christian singer listed on my phone, and I commented on the Bible she pulled out of her purse. Carol shared that her destination was a cancer treatment center and her condition was Stage 4. Carol certainly needs hope, but she is not willing to settle for it. Carol needs to be filled up with a hope that overflows, but she is not willing to settle for being filled. Carol is putting her hope — every ounce she can muster up — in the God of hope. She is settling for nothing less than the presence of Jesus, the one who has authored and is perfecting her faith. Carol is choosing to put her hope in Jesus, day by day and hour by hour.

When circumstances of the day or hour threaten to overwhelm us, let us also choose to put our hope in the God of hope.

Our God hears,
Mark Petersen