May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing (through the experience of your faith) that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope. Romans 15:13
When our pastor taught about Hope versus Cynicism recently, it really touched my heart. In today’s world it is easy to become cynical about life because it seems like evil is winning at every turn. For many years of my life, I was pessimistic because it felt like “everything” went wrong all the time. Whenever something good happened, I waited for the bad to negate it. I remember giving our daughter some awful advice, “If you don’t expect anything good to happen, you won’t be disappointed.” How sad, but that was my philosophy at that stage of my life. Fortunately, God didn’t give up on me, and He won’t give up on you. I had to learn to focus on Jesus and the Hope He offers. Hope is a choice.
I want to share an amazing transformation in a friend of ours from childhood that is an excellent example of coming out of cynicism and sarcasm into Hope. She has given me permission to tell her story. A few years ago we reconnected due to the death of her mother. She grew up in a world of negativity. She was never good enough and was criticized constantly. Sarcasm reigned in her life. Upon graduation from high school, she joined the Navy to escape her unhappy life. But the cynicism and negativity followed her. Eventually, she moved back to her home town and ended up taking care of her elderly, ill mother. After the memorial service, she reached out to us via email, and I began listening to her sad story and encouraging her to look to Jesus for the answers she craved. She had grown up in a Bible-believing church, so she knew scriptures about God. But she felt abandoned and betrayed by Him. Over several years, the enemy played havoc with her emotionally, physically, mentally, financially, and spiritually. She shared with me that her husband of many years and father of three adult children had just announced that he was a homosexual and wanted a divorce. She was devastated. Next, she moved in with “the love of my life from 35 years ago” for comfort. Then she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had to deal with surgery, chemo, and the inability to speak (a huge challenge since she is a very vocal person and her job involved talking all day). Her attitude was changing from cynicism toward accepting that Jesus was in control, but she didn’t understand why. Then the unthinkable happened. The “love of her life” kicked her out saying he never really loved her. Heartbreak! Once more she experienced abandonment and betrayal. To top it off, she lost her job due to downsizing. Now, she had no income and no insurance to cover the treatment for cancer that she desperately needed. But I noticed Peace starting to settle over her. The cynicism was fading and she was embracing her heavenly Father more each time we talked. During this time, the bank foreclosed on her house. Amidst all the complications of life, I was watching a new creature blossom before my eyes as she fought each battle. She began to have Hope that her Father God really did have a plan for her; she just didn’t know what it was yet.
A few days ago, she called to update me. First, she was notified her car was being repossessed. When she called the dealership for advice, she said for the first time in her life, someone listened to her. After examining her case carefully, he said she wasn’t as far behind as indicated; and if she could pay $500.00, he could move her next payment out three months. Wow! Just so happens, she had received an unexpected check for $1,000 in the mail three days before. She chuckled as she told me the man’s name was Gabriel, her angel. She praised Jesus. She had also contacted the VA to see if she qualified for medical benefits. She was seen immediately and now has a team of doctors treating her for cancer and for PTSD, not war related but the trauma of life. She is sensing her worth as a person and not expecting something bad for every good thing that is happening. She is praising God. She decided to go back to school so she can work with young people at risk. At the admissions’ office, she learned her student loan did not cover her expenses. It seemed her dream would go unfulfilled. The counselor left for several minutes and came back with the dean of admissions who informed her that they have a discretionary fund for highly motivated students, and she is exactly what they are looking for. They awarder her a $10,000 scholarship! Hope was bubbling all over her. Finally, she reminded me that she had been a professional photography many years ago. One of her jobs had involved photographing Prince. She had signed a contract stating that she could not reproduce or sell any of the photos for 50 years or until Prince died. She is sad that he passed away, but now she is free to sell her work and has already been offered several hundred dollars for one 5×7 photo. God is providing miraculously for her and filling her with HOPE. She is walking in the reality of her faith and hope in Jesus. What if God wants to instill you with Hope too? What if God wants you to be bubbling over with joy and hope in Him?