Earlier this year the world watched an extraordinary mission to rescue 12 Thai boys and their coach, trapped in a cave in northern Thailand. It was a roller coaster of emotions as conditions worsened, the best rescue route proved challenging, a rescuer died, and the potential to bring them out safely seemed impossible.
Before long the operation became an international team working tirelessly, all based on the hope that somehow the team would survive until they could be reached 7 days later. When it was finally possible to deliver blankets, food, water and medical aid, divers were thrilled to find everyone safe and alive. Although emaciated, their coach had remained hopeful, keeping them hydrated and positive in the impossible circumstances until they were finally rescued.
Hope, Peace, Joy and Love are the themes for our holiday series at See Hear Love and usually anywhere Christmas is celebrated. Christmas carols intricately weave them together, filling malls and lightening the mood for most. But for some the idea of hope is an expectation they let go of long ago.
This seemingly religious idea can seem mythical or even wrong in the middle of loss. So how and why should you hold onto hope when it has let you down before…perhaps several times?
According to Psychology Today (1) on Hope and its significance in innovation ‘the concept of hope has intrigued many scholars, including psychologists, philosophers, theologists, and doctors’ for many years. Studies have been conducted, books written, and treatment processes adapted to leverage, build or sustain the power of Hope for this reason ‘Optimism is the raw fuel of motivation, and not having enough of it is a sure sign of eventual failure.… So it’s important to let go of negative thinking.
In a HuffPost article (2) ‘Psychologists at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London studied women with early-stage breast cancer and found that risk of recurrence or death increased significantly among those who lacked hope. There was nothing mysterious or mystical about this.’
Wow! Hope is very powerful in so many areas of life! But God always has a way of going beyond our view of hope’s value. We don’t always practice hope, instead we tend to apply it to a specific situation, project, illness or thing we want to get out of. Instead God offers the ultimate gift of hope . . . eternity. He became the ultimate rescue team through His birth on earth and His death that provided our way out to an incredible eternity with Him.
“Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not fight or shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally he will cause justice to be victorious. And his name will be the HOPE of all the world.” – Matt 12:18-21
We are often limited in our thinking while God always sees things through an eternal lense. Long before you needed the power of hope, God was placing promises through history, and fulfilling them through Jesus and His Holy Spirit. As you read through the Old Testament and New, you will discover how thorough and deep His love is for you. He knew you would need more than a little bit of hope to get through life, so He added an eternal hope…for you.
This season let God help you through the challenges of each today and try adding a more powerful hope, the hope of eternity with a God who loves you deeply.
Ruth Thorogood is an author, speaker, entrepreneur, Communications Manager for Lausanne Canada and the Canada Representative for the World Evangelical Alliance. For more info: www.thorogoodadventures.com