Hope: Favorable and Confident Expectation
What comes to mind when you think of hope? Allow me to take you on a tour of what hope has looked like in my life for the last 45 days.
September 6th: While visiting family in Puerto Rico, I hoped and prayed that Hurricane Irma would go two degrees North and not wreak havoc. I also prayed that I would be able to conduct my online classes with minimal, if any, interruptions. Prayers answered. Damage was minimal, classes ran smoothly.
September 8th: I prayed for my aging grandmother’s home to get its electricity back. As my girls and I are in the driveway headed out, the electricity turns on. Prayer answered, and in just two days more my sister’s home would regain power.
September 19th: A quick call to my sister told me what I didn’t want to hear, this next hurricane, just two weeks later, was a force to be reckoned with. I approach the Throne and ask God for His protection over those I love and the people of PR.
September 20th: 7:30 AM, a half an hour before Hurricane Maria was to make landfall, I am speaking with my sister and could hear that Maria had already made landfall. My sister was headed to the inside room of the house along with my grandmother and elderly Aunt & Uncle. Shortly after that conversation, phone lines went dead. Prayers filled with hope and confidence that He would protect them
Later that afternoon, I spoke to my sister to learn that according to the emergency broadcast channels, no one was to come out until the next day. In the interim, I could see the news and my heart was crushed seeing the devastation that Hurricane Maria had just done to my country. Limited communication to follow, many decisions to be made, more prayers filled with hope.
October 1st: After ten days of discussions and surveying the landscape, it was decided that my grandmother would come to stay with me until electricity returned to her area. Homes, streets, and entire neighborhoods were destroyed. People were devastated. At the airport, there was what appeared to be a mass exodus. People either packed whatever belongings they had left or the very minimal for the journey ahead and while many people, like me received their relatives with glee, these very people arrived with deep sadness and very little hope.
The mass exodus, if you will, made me think of the Israelites and their multiple journeys, whether it be when they went in circles following Moses heading to the promised land, or when they were taken into exile to Babylon. It also reminds me our daily walk as Christians, God tells us in this world we will have trouble, this earth is not our home. Some journeys are harder to take than others, the days are long, and our flesh is weak, so how do we remain steadfast? What is the one essential item needed for our journey? HOPE.
We are reminded repeatedly in Scripture about HOPE –
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner [Jesus] has entered for us… (Hebrews 6:19)
if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Colossians 1:23)
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
As Christians we are to be rooted and grounded in HOPE. It is that very HOPE which lives within us that allows us to be sad but not be in despair. It allows us to have setbacks while looking ahead to what the Lord will do. It allows those of us who are in Christ to say, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
HOPE is an anchor for our weary souls this side of heaven.
October 23rd: On Oct 1st my niece had accompanied my grandmother on her exodus to the mainland, she remained here for a week and brought some laughter into the dampened mood. A week later my nephew arrived. He’d recently relocated to FL for a job opportunity and was able to make the trip to visit. In addition, I have another nephew that lives nearby who has been able to visit her as well. As part of her exodus, my grandmother has enjoyed the presence of four of her grandchildren and her two great-granddaughters. What a blessing she has been to all of us and what a gift it has been to serve her during this time.
Every morning, for as long as I can remember, Grandma has risen early to says her prayers. She is faithful in her conversations with her Savior. Despite the situation that she is in she has hope. If she’s taught me one thing is that no matter what situation is before her, prayer is and will always be a priority. What a beautiful example of a praying parent!
Grandma is resting, the leaves are changing, and we’re settling into a new normal, albeit temporary. We do so with a peace that passes all understanding because of the HOPE that lives within us. Amen!