Hope… that essential ingredient in everyone’s life. It is what keeps us going when we’d rather curl up in a ball and disappear. Where does it come from? A few weeks ago, hope for me came from a woman I barely knew.
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I happened to be sharing a few concerns about my oldest son and this amazing woman just looked kindly at me and said, “Let me speak a word of hope…” She went on to tell a story about her own son, his struggles and how he eventually came through with flying colors. She calls him her “miracle child.” And she did all this in a way that was not bragging or self-centered, but sincerely about helping me to see that there will be better days. No, I wasn’t so down I was ready to assume a fetal position and whimper, but her sharing still lifted me up. She was a modern-day John the Baptist for me.
Our scripture yesterday was about John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness announcing the coming of the Messiah. As crazy as this locust-eating, camel-hair-shirt-wearing guy was, his message was one of hope. The people of ancient Israel were oppressed, depressed, and lacking avenues of hope. I’m sure it felt like no one cared and there was no relief in sight. Fighting back just resulted in being killed or put in prison. John’s message was hang in there, a new day is coming with the advent of the Messiah. Get ready, wash yourselves, start fresh today with a positive attitude and a new dedication to God who has brought us one to show us the way.
Life likes to throw curve balls, but whatever we may be going through, someone else has made it through that. And, whatever we’ve experienced, someone else needs to know that they can make it through, too. We all need hope at times and we can all give a word of hope to others at times.
I know we’re getting into the thick of the season, and the last thing you probably need is one more item on your To-Do List, but I’d ask you to consider this one. Who in your life needs to hear a word of hope, some encouragement that things will get better? Take a few minutes to find a way to offer them hope: send a card, give them a call, drop by and offer a hug and a listening ear, let someone know they are important and worthy.
In my experience, whenever I’ve felt down, God has invariably placed a word of hope on my path. Think about it, pray about it, who is God nudging you to reach out to this week and then trust your deeper sense, your intuition, and do it.
Jesus was the ultimate word of hope… God is with us. God loves us. God hopes for us. God will not leave us when times get tough. Believe in God. Believe in you. Believe in better days.