We’ve thought a lot about “hope” this year, haven’t we? We know we ought to place our hope in Christ alone and not in other people, not in preferable circumstances, and not even in the changed behavior of loved ones.
But what does that look like in 2019? We look at Bible people like John the Baptist and Mary, and we clearly see their unwavering hope in Christ in the midst of disappointment, devastation, and even death. But I wonder, and maybe you do too, if these folks had it just a wee bit easier than you and I do, because they could see Jesus with their eyes.
It might seem like an advantage to get a visual on “the Word made flesh.” If Jesus has sat at your table slurping your soup, or if you’ve lifted him from the Jordan River with his hair draped over your arm, then surely you have an advantage over those of us who are squinting into 2000 years of history through the lens of scripture.
But friends, crazy as this might sound, that is not the case. Mary and John the Baptist, had no greater advantage than you or me. Know how I know? Jesus said so. “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7, ESV)
It is to our advantage that Jesus ascended to heaven and sent his Holy Spirit to live in each of us individually. And isn’t it especially noteworthy that Jesus says he’ll send “The Helper.”
If there’s one thing we need in conjunction with hope, it’s help. The Helper we’ve been given isn’t a flaky advice columnist. We’ve been given the Holy Spirit.
Maybe you’re whispering, “Well, that sounds all theological and fancy, Shauna, but I need something a little more practical, because so far He hasn’t really helped in the ways I’d hoped.”
What does it look like to Hope in the Helper and trust him as you…
…trudge through single-parenting
…gasp with suffocating loneliness
…leave when everyone expects you to stay
…stay when everyone expects you to leave
…forgive in order to free yourself
…strain to see his presence even when you don’t feel it.
Friends, there are women who’ve experienced those disapointments. She may sit just down the row from you at your church. She might walk her dog at the park near your house. She might be your realtor, your child’s teacher, your lawyer, or the high school track coach. This summer, it is my pleasure to introduce you to a few of these regular and remarkable women through a series of articles called, Stories of Hope.
These women have placed their hope in Christ and experienced devastating disappointments. With the help of the Holy Spirit, over time, they have each discovered that he gives immeasurably more than they could have imagined even though it was not what they asked for and nothing like they expected.
I know you’ll be encouraged and inspired. And I’m praying your hope in Christ will be strengthened. He is drastic, surprising, and even unpredictable, but he is always present, loving, and good.
If you don’t already receive email from me, you can sign up here. Then look for the first powerful story in your inbox next week.