Tag Archives: Hope


The sound of a circling airplane brings euphoria to those lost at sea.  The expectation of coming rescue brings new hope and the energy to struggle on.  When we struggle with strong temptation or other kinds of suffering, life can seem like being lost at sea.  The disciple named Peter knew all about that.  He wrote words of powerful encouragement for those who suffer and struggle as they attempt to live out their faith.  He knew how tough such a struggle seems and how often and easily we fail.  In 1 Peter 5:6-10 he gives important strategies to employ during the struggle (click HERE to review those).  And he ends that section by saying this: Help is on the way.  He wrote:

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.   (1 Peter 5:10)

The most important word is easily overlooked.  It is “Himself!”  God is going to do what is needed – Himself.   How cruel it would be for the circling plane to drop a message to the folks floundering below that said, “You can do it!  Try harder!”  And yet, so many of us have heard that, “try harder” message from our religious leaders.  But Peter knew this truth:  What I cannot do, God will do.  Himself.

He will restore us to good operating condition.  Think of the restorations you’ve seen on TV or YouTube. A piece of rusty junk is transformed into a beautiful roadster, gleaming as it did right off the showroom floor.  God Himself will restore us.

You’ll no doubt think, “No way, this can’t be true…”   That’s why God Himself will confirm His work in you. He will let you test it and see for yourself that it is real, even as the restoration is being gradually accomplished.

Not only that, but He will strengthen those areas of weakness in you that have caused so much trouble, equipping you to face the continued temptations and dangers of real life.

Ultimately, God will establish you.  When footers are poured under new foundations, their function is to establish the stability of the building.  Their job is to keep the building steady in the midst of all the forces that try to move it.

Help is coming.  But why has it been delayed?  Peter wrote, “after you have suffered awhile”   In verse 6, he wrote, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,…”  God knows what we are enduring and when is the proper time to end it.  Like a coach or trainer, He allows us to suffer temporarily as part of how He works to restore, confirm, strengthen and establish us. Remember: “He cares for you” (v. 7), and hold on to His promise of rescue.

A circling plane cannot rescue shipwrecked sailors.  It functions as a promise that help is coming.  That promise, that hope, makes all the difference.  1 Peter 5:10 serves us like that as well.

The Journey

It’s been a long, hard morning and the afternoon looks just as rough.  Your legs hurt, your back is stiff, and your mind is screaming at you to quit.  “Just give up; it’s not worth it.”  You are tempted, but you think about what’s coming.  A hot meal, a warm shower, a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed.  And then…  and then,  an extended vacation at your favorite place on earth, your own little slice of heaven.  Perhaps you can relate.  

Life here can make us weary, make us feel like quitting.  Sometimes, more so when we are following Jesus.  It helps to look ahead to remember what’s coming.

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  (1 Peter 1:13)

Nobody knows exactly what the “grace that will be brought to you” will be like.  But we can be sure of this:  No matter what trials we have endured, what tragedy or heartache have been ours along the way, the journey will be more than worth it.  So, if you have caught your breath, let’s get back to it.  There’s a few more miles to go….

What to Do with a Broken Heart

Whoever coined the expression, “brokenhearted,”  got it right. In times of deep sorrow it really does seem that our hearts have been broken beyond repair.  We can feel the broken pieces, like shards of pottery.  Brokenhearted is more than just being temporarily sad. Deeper and more permanent, brokenhearted has lost hope. What is done is done and there is no fixing it. The pieces cannot be mended.  If you can relate, if you are brokenhearted as you read this, my heart goes out to you.  That is another expression for,  “I can identify with how painful it is for you right now” and “I would like to touch your heart with my own, if such a thing was possible.”  Some people come close in a very comforting way.  It’s a special gift.  But they cannot truly fix a broken heart.

Which makes these lines from Isaiah especially meaningful.  By quoting these words at the beginning of His ministry, Jesus identified Himself as the Messiah:  

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,… ”  –   (Isaiah 61:1a)

If you ask, “When God sent Jesus, what was He supposed to do?” I suspect not many people would include fixing broken hearts in the list.  And yet, it was the nearly the first identifying mark of the Messiah – binding up the pieces of broken hearts, restoring hope, healing a pain that could not be wished away.  How could anyone, even the Messiah, accomplish such a seemingly impossible task?  Here is another quote from Isaiah:

“And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death foreverand the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.”  –  (Isaiah 25:7-8)

The One Who can conquer death can certainly mend a broken heart.  Jesus proved  He was able by His resurrection.  If your heart is broken, take the pieces to Jesus.  He will bind them and heal them.  Let Him have your heart.  You will not be sorry.

The Love Test

Do you ever wonder if you really believe in Jesus?  Are you a citizen or merely a tourist in the land of faith?  Since you cannot see faith, and since our minds deceive us (remember that romance in Jr. High?), is there a telltale sign we can look for to assess the genuineness of our faith?  Jesus said if we love one another as He loved us, others would know.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – (John 13:35)

Not Hallmark card love.  It’s the kind of love Jesus extended on the cross, dying to pay a debt we could not.  This kind of love (agape love) is an act of personal sacrifice in compassionate response to a need of someone else, with no expectation of any return.

If you find yourself increasingly moved to bless someone else in his need, not out of obligation or guilt, but out of agape love, this is a telltale sign of real faith. 

As John wrote:
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.  This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: –  (1John 3:18-19)

The connection between real faith and sacrificial love is hope.  Not wishful thinking, but confidence in the future.  When we know we cannot lose, loving sacrifice becomes logical.  They could steal from us, hate us, persecute us, sue us or even kill us and it would not change the outcome for us in eternity.  We cannot lose.  Because we have real hope, it is safe  for us to love.  Agape love is a sign of faith because it is extended in direct contrast to the “rules” of the world.

Paul was excited and thankful for the new Colossian believers…

…because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people—  the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel. – (Colossians 1:4-5)


Someone asked me, “Do you have any hope for us?”  She knew I was blogging about the Bible and we had been talking about the recent spate of terrorist attacks.  World attention has been focused on the tragedy in France, but Boko Haram has slaughtered more than 10 times as many in Nigeria.  And, from all reports, there is more to come.  Does the Bible have any hope for us?

3000 years ago, King David poured out his heart in a Psalm:

“O Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.” (Psalm 7:1-2)

David’s prayer was not merely for his own situation:

“Arise, O Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. Let the assembled peoples gather around you. Rule over them from on high;” (Psalm 7:6-7)

The problem with all of human attempts to put down wickedness thus far, both diplomatic and military, is that we humans are imperfect.  Justice is relative for us.  We make decisions based on expediency. We play favorites.  Those imperfect decisions each breed more discontent and violence.  There will be no solution for terrorism without perfect justice.  But God has promised to establish His justice and rule the whole world “from on high.”

The prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of the One Who would bring this about:

” A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord— and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.” (Isaiah 11:1-4)

This prophecy about the coming Messiah, Jesus, is but one small sparkling drop of the hope the Bible has for us.  It would be mere wishful thinking if it were not for the fact that Jesus did come and fulfill the prophecies regarding His initial coming.  Even the one about His crucifixion and resurrection (see Isaiah 53).  Think about how unlikely it would be for any itinerant peasant in a tiny, conquered country, to be known and revered around the world, 2000 years later.  This, too, was foretold by the prophets.  And they also foretold His return to reign in justice.

When human strategies against wickedness fail, you need a Ruler from on high, Who plays no favorites, Who is not limited by mere appearances, but Who reigns with absolute, perfect justice.  Jesus is coming again.

So, like David, we pray, calling out to God for hope in a world filled with wickedness.  We say,

“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Hope for Life

Imagine the crew that Ernest Shackleton left behind, hopelessly stuck in Antarctic ice, facing a certain, slow, agonizing death by freezing, as he attempted to go for help. If you are not familiar with how far he needed to hike and then sail to find rescue, look it up. It’s one of the most astounding adventures of all time. But the guys left behind, huddled together, day after frozen day, with death circling like a wolf: how deep their despair must have been.

And how great their joy when one day, a speck on the horizon appeared, to let them know that Shackleton had returned, that he was not dead and that they were about to become the benefactors of a most improbable rescue! If you can grasp a sliver of their amazement, their blinking wonder and joy, then perhaps you can glimpse a portion of the disciples’ joy when they saw and touched Jesus after His resurrection.

Later, Peter wrote these words:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” (1 Peter 1:3)

As each person discovers that “speck on the horizon” and recognizes Jesus coming for them, they catch the full glow of Peter’s words. Not many of us can write music like Handel, but we can all jump up and sing “Hallelujiah!”

Extreme Makeover

If you knew this family you’d be rooting for them, even though there isn’t much hope for them.  Recently widowed by the war, the single mom struggles to raise her children, one of whom really needs a special wheel chair – the cost of which is beyond thinking about.  She’s just been laid off.  She’s doing her best but the house, damaged badly from a super-storm, is beyond repair… Enter Ty Pennington and the guys from ABC’S “Extreme Makeover, Home Edition.” (This popular show is no longer on the air.)   Within moments of their arrival, the surprised family has been sent off on a posh vacation, bulldozers have been called in, along with ant-like hordes of construction volunteers, to scrape away the house and rebuild it into the home of her dreams.

English: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Feb. 2, 2011) Sa...

English: VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Feb. 2, 2011) Sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) help build a home for a mother currently raising six foster children. The project is part of an episode of Extreme Home Makeover: Home Edition. Theodore Roosevelt is undergoing a multi-year refueling complex overhaul at Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipbuilding. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Karen E. Eifert/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s the thing:  While they are gone, It doesn’t take long for hotel living to wear thin, especially with a bunch of kids who have special needs. But they all know that one day they will be back home. They don’t have any idea of what “back home” will be like, simply that it will be unimaginably better. One day soon they will see it. And tour it. And get the keys for it, along with a paid-up mortgage.  Imagine her anticipation.   If you’ve ever watched that show, you know …

Now read this:

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.  (1 John 3:2)

John says, “Fellow believers in Jesus, we have been born into the family of God and one day we are going home. We don’t have much of a clue what “home” will be like, but it’s going to be wonderful.”  Maybe that seems like a fantasy to you.  If so, if you think God can’t pull that off, plant some wild flower seeds in dirt – dirt mixed with manure – and wait and watch to see what God does.   Consider whether a caterpillar has any inkling of what the future will be like as a butterfly.

John says we know, that one day we will be like Jesus; that one day we will be able to see Jesus as He really is!   Imagine having eyes that are not startled to see Jesus strolling on a lake or healing the blind. Imagine one day being able to think like Jesus!  We are in for an extreme makeover!

There’s more to this – keep chewing and stay tuned…