Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Hope is causing a lot of hype these days. And not this sweet Hope from my church, although she is almost two and can cause a hype all her own. Here she is enjoying some ice cream and root beer at my house the other night.

Hope is a political buzz word thanks to Obama's campaign. People want to be hopeful: for a better tomorrow, a speedy recovery, a safe flight, a nicer world to leave our kids.

Although people want to hope, most people are living without it: sickness, starving children, war, famine, abuse, unemployment rage on. The choice for most people is to forget it and live it up while you can or work hard and accumulate as much wealth and earthly happiness as possible. It's tough to cope and there are rising numbers of depression and suicide.

I like President Obama. I think he and his family are a great inspiration. If our kids were on the same baseball team it would be fun to sit and chat with them on the bleachers. I do disagree with him on several things. And this is one of them:

“Hope is not blind optimism. Hope is not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside of us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that there is something greater inside of us.” Barack Obama

On the other side of the spectrum, I heard or read a quote from a conservative commentator that had the same idea. He encouraged putting your "faith and hope in yourself and your freedom". Again, I disagree.

The greater thing inside of us is Jesus. It is not our ambition, drive or determination. If we hope in ourselves, we are going to be disappointed. Unfortunately, through the years, I've seen what's inside me. It's not pretty: selfishness, pride, envy, anger, bitterness. I think I can join the multitudes that want to give up if that's all I have to hope in.

God's got the corner on hope. He sent His son to die for our sins so we would not have to. Instead of death, we look forward to heaven. Forever. No death, war, crying, pain. Ever.

I cannot imagine living this life without hope: Hope in the One who can save us. Hope that there will be healing and rejoicing when we meet Jesus.

So I wonder how I can instill hope into my kids. I want them to live with the knowledge that there is a hope beyond the here and now. And I want that hope to overflow into the others around them. Like it says in Romans 15:13

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

It seems to me that families I know with the most vibrant faith and kids that follow Christ as they grow up don't have it all. They are not living for the "American Dream" with a little God on the side. Decisions have been made to live for something different. Romans 8:24 says,

"For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?"

Instead of trying to gain more and more, I want our family to strive to give more and more. More of ourselves, our resources and our time. If we only think about what more we can get, we will be tempted to hope in things.

Instead of focusing on our own successes and recreation, maybe we can give those up for Christ. It's important to have relaxation and rest by taking time away from the normal routine. But do you know people who cannot live in reality? The more and more they have their needed get aways, the more they cannot deal with the regular things of life. Which leads to needing to get away again.

Instead of caring about ourselves the most, can we strive to care more about others?

People are hungry for hope and we have the answer! We know who can fill their hunger eternally with the hope that will never fade away or disappoint.

Romans 5:5
"And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

Colossians 1:5
"the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel"


Anonymous said...

Wow--maybe the New York Times should pick up your writing!! Good job!

And I love Maren's pictures--she's losing her baby look and getting her toddler look--anxious to see you all!


Mommy Missionary said...

A little biased maybe - huh Mom? But thanks! Well, just so you know, those pictures aren't of Maren - they are of her friend Hope from church. Maybe you were kind of jet lagged when you looked at them?

Shan in Japan said...

Romans 15:13 is my verse for the year. I often choose a verse to focus on for the year. This year I started with the theme of Hope and found that verse. Two weeks ago it was my turn to preach and I preached on Hope. What triggered my desire to talk about it was the suicide statistics from last year in Japan. I really wanted to challenge the Christians to share the Hope they have. That day my not-yet-Christian friends weren't there, but I had planned to challenge them to choose Hope. (When only 6 people come to church you can tailor sermons to fit the audience easily!:)