Hope Makes All the Difference

by Julie Zine Coleman

When I was a little girl, our family of four bravely ventured out from Connecticut to visit relatives in Florida. We Zines weren’t big travelers, so this trip was a very big deal. It was July. We would drive for three days, stopping at hotels each night. Exciting times.

The first day didn’t go too badly. We drove as far as Washington, D.C., and took a quick tour of the sights. The second day: not so pleasant. Margie and I had already blown through the new toys our mom bought for the trip. We were tired of being in the car. My poor little sister got carsick—necessitating several emergency stops. And it was HOT. We were driving through a record heat wave with no air conditioning. By the time we hit South Carolina, every one of us was wilted and desperate to get out of that car.

Dad pulled into the first decent motel. No vacancy. That began a nightmarish hour of driving from hotel after hotel, to no avail. Finally, a kind hotel clerk called around and found us a place to stay. When we wearily pulled up to our lodging, we just about kissed the ground of its parking lot.

The next morning, Dad took a new tactic. Before we left he called ahead to the next stop and made a reservation. We traveled that day knowing that no matter what happened on the road, a cool swim in a hotel pool and a soft bed awaited us. It made all the difference in how we faced another day’s journey.

As believers, we know how the road we travel will end. One day we will stand before God’s throne, face to face with our precious Savior. It will be the day when our faith will become sight. There will be no more crying, no more sorrow.  We will finally begin to grasp how perfectly we have been loved. Our struggle with our sin nature will be behind us, as we will finally be like Jesus, totally transformed and complete. What a fabulous day that will be.

Knowing all that should impact how we conduct ourselves in the journey.

I wonder if that is why Peter called it a living hope (1 Peter 1:3). For it is not only a hope for our eternal future; this hope has tremendous implications for our lives in the here and now.

Knowing what ultimately lies ahead makes the trip through this life bearable. It supplies the light at the end of the tunnel which beckons us on to our glorious and final destination. Our name is written in the book of life (Rev 20:12), an eternal reservation, with all of the benefits an eternity with God will entail. And we can be sure that the God who planned and orchestrated it all is at present faithfully by our side as we run toward that finish line.

Author Frederick Buechner wrote that Christ’s “resurrection means the worst thing is never the last thing.” No matter what tragedy or failures befall us, no matter how difficult our life on earth is right now, we already how it ends. We can trust in our faithful God to move us toward a glorious future, even when things are looking grim.

Hope makes all the difference.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10: 23 NASB

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the author: Julie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Her award-winning book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women, was published in 2013 by Thomas Nelson. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 2.39.03 PMfrom today’s comments. To enter our contest for Julie’s book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: How has your hope impacted your life in the here and now?

We Can’t Live Without Hope

by Karen Porter

The human body can survive about 3 weeks without food but not more than a couple of days without water. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, we can’t live without hope. Hope that tomorrow the sun will shine and take away the dreary gray clouds. Hope that the doctor will discover the right medicine. Hope that a prodigal child will call. Hope that a strained relationship will be changed to forgiveness and love again.

An ancient Roman saying states, “Where there is life there is hope.” Sounds good, but shouldn’t the statement be as Warren Wiersbe said? “Where there is faith, there is hope.” As believers, our hope is not in sunny days tomorrow or medical technology or the sudden change of heart of a person. Our hope is in Jesus. Peter said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (I Peter 1:3 ESV, emphasis mine).

A living hope is a great expectation. But Peter is quick to point out that the anticipation is based on the completed work of Jesus. Each of us is born with a sin nature that separates us from God. Jesus provided rescue and redemption from that separation by paying the price for our sins on the cross, and His resurrection offers new life to us. His resurrection means that we may live too. And not simply live, but live with hope.

Our culture does not understand hope in Jesus because we are conditioned that we must do something instead of sitting around waiting for something to happen. Work hard enough and your future is bright. But the Lord said through Isaiah, “Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 NLT). That’s the difference being a believer makes, because faith fuels hope. Faith is believing even when the evidence says otherwise. Faith is trust in God, not in circumstances, because of who He is.

We will face disappointments and tragedies, but we must never give up on hope in Jesus. Faith is for today…trusting no matter what the doctor or the news said.

One friend’s future changed instantly when her child made a wrong and deadly decision, but faith has sustained her and given her hope for the difficult years that she has faced since then.

One friend’s reputation was destroyed by lies and half-truths. His dreams and opportunities seem ruined forever. But faith gets him through the day and hope assures him that God knows what is in store in the days and weeks to come.

One friend’s daughter was killed in a terrible accident. Yet my friend’s faith was so strong that she shook her fist at the devil and said, “If that’s all you got, you’ve failed. I’ll trust God.”

“Job said, God might kill me, but I have no other hope. I am going to argue my case with him” (Job 13:15 NLT).

Hope is trusting in the character of God even if the worst has happened. God is here today, and He is in tomorrow too. Whatever you face tomorrow, will your response be hope?

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NLT

karen-porter-About the Author: Karen Porter is an author, speaker, coach and successful businesswoman. She coaches aspiring writers and speakers and is co-owner of Bold Vision Books. In her spare time, she pursues her life-long goal of finding the perfect purse.

 

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Karen’s book,  Get Ready, Practical Ideas to Prepare You for Ministry,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

 

Join the conversation: How has holding on to hope helped you in the past?