Self: Hope

March brings so many memories to mind, but always top of the list is March 22, 1996.  The day my best friend died.  2014 marks 18 years, it is strange to be heading towards a 20 year anniversary of her death and realizing the years that follow will number greater than the years she lived life on this earth.

March also brings a time of reflection on my own life and the season I endured in 1996 …the grief, growth, faith and hope I experienced in that season…I am who I am because of that day.

Because I have hope. 

I don’t have hope in this world.
I don’t have hope in a bank account.
I don’t have hope in a person completing me.
I don’t have hope in material things.

I have hope in eternity.  I have hope in Jesus. 

It’s been almost 30 years since I believed in Jesus in my heart and knew I was a sinner.  I grew up in a generation of “re-commitment” and church camp to youth event challenging me to what feels like now a message of “doing better” and checking off everything I was to do on a daily basis and making sure I didn’t do the things I wasn’t supposed to.  I challenged my faith at 17 years old, was I really saved, did I really know what that meant, was that really forever??

As I’ve grown in my understanding of Bible, the will of God and the “plan” for my life I can look back on seasons, like 1996, a season that lasted a long time and see that through each of those seasons I had hope.  I was sad.  I was in disbelief.  I was angry.  I wasn’t sure how to “help” a devastated family.  

But, I had hope. 

This life, the Christian life, isn’t about me checking the box every day and making sure I did everything right, and feeling like at the end of the day/week/month/year I did __________ every day.  Or, heck, didn’t do ______________ at all. 

The Bible tells me “his mercies are new every morning”.  He doesn’t keep record of right and wrong.  So why should I? 

If I am honest, it doesn’t matter where I’ve come from, nor what I bring to the table, I have hope.  I have a God who loves me despite my poor decisions at times, despite my disobedience at times, and despite my other shortcomings on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. 

I have hope in an eternity with Jesus.  He doesn’t ask me to only recommit my life at camp or a conference.  He asks me to recommit my life every day and live it better than the day before because I have learned to be obedient and have been loved through my shortcomings.  He asks me to honestly repent and recognize where I fall short, and He receives that and moves on.  He doesn’t keep a score sheet.  I suffer consequences at times, because He loves me and disciplines me with love.

I can confidently say I am content because no matter the season, I have hope.  The seasons of lies, deceit, loss, waiting, and also the seasons of great joy and delight.  He loves me the same.  He pursues me the same.  The hope is the same. 

We’re all dealing with “stuff” and endure seasons of life.  My hope for you is that you recognize in Jesus you always have hope and He will never leave you nor forsake you.  He is pursuing you through it all to bring you ultimately closer to him, a loving merciful God. 

This morning on the radio Laura Story’s song “Blessings” played and reminded me of the faithfulness through all the seasons and sometimes what it’s taken for me to realize the faithfulness of Jesus: 

…What if your blessings come through rain drops…
…What if Your healing comes through tears…
…What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near…
….What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise…

Through all of life’s seasons may you “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12


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