HOPE

(Recommended Reading:  Ephesians 1:16-2:17)

There is no denying the fact that the past 2+ years have been so very difficult in so many different ways.  It seems that the world as we have known it for so long has morphed into something that we can barely recognize.  Sickness, death, loss of freedoms that we have had and taken for granted our entire lives, friends turning against friends, family turning their backs on one another, distrust, anger, fear, stress and on and on.

As we endured the shock of what was happening in 2020, I believe most of us were hopeful that 2021 would turn around and we could get back to our old lives – but it just has not  happened.  Yes, some things have improved, but other things are just as bad or worse.  So where do we go from here?

It is easy under such circumstances to want to just give up – to lose our peace, our joy, our love for life, our hope.  But that is no way to live.  We need to keep ourselves focused on what is good and right in our lives – there is always something to be thankful for and that is what we need to set our sights on.  

I have talked in previous articles how early on in all of this I, like most everyone, was anxious.  But I soon just let it go.  I determined I was going to make the best of things and put my trust in God.  I took only the precautions that were required of me, then otherwise just lived my life as normally as possible.  I took the recommended proactive steps to build up my natural immunity and I firmly believe doing that is what resulted in my having a very mild case of COVID when I contracted it back in August.  I have worked hard to stay positive and keep hope alive.

I believe that HOPE needs to be the mantra for 2022.  

So, what exactly is hope?  Hope – according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary is:  to cherish a desire with anticipation; to want something to happen or be true; to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment; desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment.  Synonyms:  anticipate, await, expect, watch (for).

I especially like the “desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment.”  We need to really desire that our circumstances are going to change and improve; then we should expect and believe that our desire will become reality!  Stop focusing on all the negatives and begin to anticipate.  We need to put legs on our hope by praying, studying God’s Word and then believing!

This week, I received my monthly magazine from AMAC (the wonderful alternative to AARP), and there was an article in it about Scott Hamilton.  If you do not remember who he is, he was a champion ice skater that won many awards, including the Olympic gold medal in 1984.  His trip to that medal was a very difficult one with many battles to fight.  He has also battled cancer – more than once – including brain cancer, and won.  What an inspiring story his life and accomplishments are!  In the article he said this:  “We have to choose between strength and fear.  We all have things we are afraid of, and we have to rise above them.”  and “…when facing challenges, when we meet forks in the road, it is never about left or right, but up or down.  You can succumb, try to adapt, or resolve to evolve.  We can let challenges, failures, falls, and diseases crush us, or we can take them on, evolve to beat them.”  To that I say a big AMEN!      

We have a wonderful loving God that desires only the best for us and the Bible is full of hope.  Take the time to research all that the Bible has to say about it in order to set your mind on the good. Man is fallible and will disappoint us repeatedly.  If we want to feel confident in what we believe, then man is not where we should look.  Our hope needs to be in God, and God alone.  Here are some verses that will give you an idea of what the Word has to say about hope, despite troubles that come our way: [All emphasis is mine]  

Romans 5:3-4 (ERV):  “And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that these troubles make us more patient. And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NET):  “‘For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope’”

Psalm 42:11 (NLT):  “Why am I discouraged?  Why is my heart so sad?  I will put my hope in God!  I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!”

Isaiah 40:31 (AMP):  “But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired.”

Romans 15:13 (NLT):  “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Psalm 31:24 (NLT):  “ So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord!”

Romans 15:4 (NLV):  “Everything that was written in the Holy Writings long ago was written to teach us. By not giving up, God’s Word gives us strength and hope.”

Here are some steps to take to strengthen your resolve:

1 Peter 5:7 (NLT):  “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

Ephesians 6:10-17 (MSG):  “A Fight to the Finish…And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no weekend war that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.  Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”  

So now that 2022 is here on our doorstep – put your hope where it belongs and start soaring over all those negative things.  Look for the positive and expect the good.  Build up your faith so that peace, joy, love and hope fill you to overflowing!

HAPPY NEW YEAR – 2022 THE YEAR OF HOPE!

Written by Karran Martin 1/1/2022 

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