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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Hope Heist

There’re a lot of hurting people out there.

Maybe you’re one of them.

Sure, your problems may not be the worst, compared to some, but you can’t shake the heavies, the doldrums, that wet-blanket burden. Maybe you feel empty or like you’re going through the motions or that, come to think of it, you haven’t been excited about anything in a really, really long time.

You hate to complain because, hey, look at Haiti, or that sick friend you know, the as-far-as-you-knew rock solid marriage that’s now falling apart, or those parents grieving for a dead child. Compared to them, you should be clicking your heals together, sliding down rainbows, tipping your hat with a “top ‘o the mornin’ to ya” aimed at everyone you meet.

Yeah. Maybe. Probably.

Still…

You try to pick yourself up by your bootstraps (Bootstrap’s bootstraps…), tell yourself over and over to count your blessings…

And yet…

Something is missing. More accurately, something’s been stolen.

I believe that something is HOPE.

Ah, hope. It’s risky. Terrifying even.

But without it… we die.

The assassination of HOPE can be brutally obvious, but it can also be stealthy, sneaky, subtle and sinister. We can wake up one day and wonder, perhaps like King Solomon did in Ecclesiastes, what’s the point?

Oh, danger, Will Robinson, danger!

If we fail to be on guard in this regard, we may just get our throats slit.

Gruesome image to paint there. Sorry. But this is serious. Life threatening.

How can we guard this precious treasure called HOPE?

I’m no expert. In fact, I’ve struggled with this off and on throughout my life. It makes me so mad. For one, it keeps cropping up, a weed I’ve pulled a thousand times only for it to pop right back up. And then, too, I’ve been a Christian for a long time. I shouldn’t succumb to fighting this battle over and over, should I? I’m more than a conqueror, right?

Actually, I think Christians are the prime target when it comes to the war on HOPE.

If Christians lose HOPE, than what HOPE is there for the world?

This has been on my mind a lot, oh, since about Christmas. I’ve been feeling kind of sorry for myself, crying over things I’ve been waiting a long time for, wondering what life is about, what I’m about, banging my head against a wall (figuratively… this time) because I can’t expel just one chapter from my brain on to paper to write any of my billion story ideas. I’ve even been to the Caribbean and back with absolutely no spark. That’s when I start feeling guilty. What’s my problem? I should be counting my blessings! And there starts another round of Bootstrap’s bootstraps.

But a few things happened in the past couple of days that cleared up my vision a little, first of which was realizing I’d allowed the enemy to swipe my treasure leaving hopelessness to suck me dry.

So, in order to keep HOPE alive, I plan to concentrate on three things.

First, the source of my HOPE or that which I HOPE in must be reliable. Hoping in anything outside of God is a waste of time, futile, disappointing, doomed to fail, insecure. The only 100% sure we have is Jesus. Yes, all my doubting friends, HOPE in Jesus takes FAITH. “Now FAITH is being sure of what we HOPE for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1) Sometimes in a world such as ours and with experiences such as ours, that’s asking a lot. We could look at all the facts, evidence and proof – the apologetics if you will, but right now all I want to say is… what do you have to lose? I mean, I don’t know about you, but I already feel crappy. I miss much more not taking the leap than taking it.

That’s a rabbit trail. Point is – HOPE must have a reliable source. Jesus is that source.

Second, God asks us to have HOPE and FAITH in Him, but He doesn’t leave us completely blind. His Word is full of encouraging promises from Him that are like an extra set of hands holding us up when we feel like falling, a set of dumb bells for us to lift in order to strengthen our spiritual muscles, a soft place to land when we fail. Reading God’s Word and holding fast to His promises is as good as being Rambo-ready against the devil’s attacks of hopelessness. “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow…” (Hebrews 4:12)

Third, fellowship is key. The devil’s tactics are divide and conquer. When we feel alone, isolated, offended, ignored, like we’re the only ones to suffer like this or that no one would understand if we shared, we are sitting ducks! We need each other to survive! Strength in numbers! Band of brothers (and sisters, of course)! We need to encourage and to be encouraged. We need to remind each other of God’s promises. We need to hug each other and forgive each other and listen to each other. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)

So here’s the battle plan for all of us feeling low for any reason, big or small…

#1 - HOPE only in God. He is reliable!


#2 – Read God’s Word and clothe your spirit with His promises like a warrior clothes himself for war.


#3 - Fellowship with your brothers and sisters. Encourage each other. Stand together.

DON’T GIVE UP!

Thank you for visiting Dry Ground!

(photos by photobucket.com)

6 comments:

lynnrush said...

Never ever give up.

Fantastic post, Lori.

Hope is the only way I get through day to day, you know? Especially after being unemployed for over four months! Maybe that's one of the things I was to learn during that time of unrest. . . .

Thanks for this.

KM Wilsher said...

Nice, Lori. . .you write so well. I appreciate Dry Ground. I love today's reminder about Hope. I have some friends in impossible situations, praying for solution for a long time, I have some long time issues that seem hopeless, I do forget sometimes the life jacket is Hope and Faith.

This is a good reminder, and a way to realize we are not alone. We all need that life jacket.

Thanks Lori, as always :)

Danielle O. Rogers said...

Lori, I needed this today! Thank you for letting the Lord use you to encourage others! He sometimes uses the unexpected to remind us that He knows where we are and what we need...today He used you!
Thanks, Danielle O. Rogers

Chris said...

This is a beautiful post. Thanks for writing it. Hope is a big issue for me. I write about it in my book, A Twin Hope. See? It made it into the title. :)

This is a great blog. I'm hooked to Dry Ground now.

Kat Harris said...

Thank you! I needed to read this right now.

One of my favorite quotes is: "Never take away someone's hope; it might be the only thing they have left."

Sarah(the)Baker said...

Lori strikes again!

I enjoyed reading this one. You communicated the glorious and delicate necessity that is HOPE and made me thirst for more of it.

You go! :)